Parish Council meeting heats up over Head Start

An upsetting turn for the Parish Council’s meeting Monday night, Oct. 21, was the moment a resolution failed to pass. With Council woman Patsy Ward Hoover absent, and Chris Paige and Russell Rachal abstaining from the vote, it didn’t have the votes required to pass. The resolution was to authorize the transfer of the title to property identified as the Breda Head Start Center to Save the Children, and to authorize the Parish President to execute the Bill of Sale and any other documents required to effect the sale, as approved by the Office of the District Attorney.

It was stated that money has already been spent on remodeling the building and there are 300 children in the community waiting to be placed.

Rachal said that Paige is trying to place the blame on him for the resolution’s failure. However, Rachal had to face two ethics attorneys two weeks ago because Paige turned him in to the La. Ethics Board on March 6. They’re still involved in litigation over this issue and until it’s over Rachal said he will not vote on anything involving Head Start because he doesn’t want to end up back on the front page of the local newspaper because of Paige and his allegations.

Paige accused Rachal of voting to end the Parish Government’s involvement with Head Start because it was in competition with the daycare business run by Rachal’s wife and daughter. Rachal has stated in the past, in his defense, that neither he nor his wife have any ties to the business. His daughter does own the business, but has a full-time job and makes no money off the daycare’s operations.

Paige requested that the board determine whether Rachal voting to end Head Start would result in his family’s financial gain.

“You call it whistle blowing but I thought it needed to be looked in to,” said Paige.

Once Paige started discussing the specifics of their dispute, Rachal said ethics laws require that the only person that can discuss the litigation once a complaint has been filed is the person it was filed on.

“I’m the only one in this room that can discuss it tonight and by Mr. Paige discussing it, he is committing a misdemeanor act,” said Rachal. “I want charges filed.”

Another item that failed was a vote to go into executive session at the end of the Council meeting to conduct strategy sessions with respect to prospective litigation after formal written demand or litigation to discuss the litigating position of Natchitoches Parish Government in the matters of McMurtry v. Natchitoches Parish Government and Lynda Vance v. Natchitoches Parish. Rachal and Doug de Graffenried voted against entering into executive session while Rodney Bedgood and Paige were for it.

Other agenda items included:

Reappoint Jill Cox and Appoint Beverly Hodgson-Thoman to replace Henry Kinberger on the Natchitoches Parish Planning Commission

Reaapoint Mike Dawson and appoint Amanda Fournier to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 6 Board

Appoint Jesse Rachal to the Natchitoches Fire District 2 Board

Introduction of Ordinance 016-2019 to remove part of the Little River Road from the Parish road system

Introduction of Ordinance 017-2019 to approve a budget for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2020 and ending Dec. 31, 2020 and making appropriations for each Department, Project, and Account

Introduction of Ordinance 018-2019 to give remaining part of Five Forks Road to the State

Introduction of Ordinance 019-2019 authorizing the acceptance by the Parish of a donation by Total Environmental Systems, Inc. of the Payne Sewer System to the Parish

Award low proposal for resurfacing of streets in Payne Subdivision Phase 1A to Regional Construction LLC in the amount of $83,055

Authorize Parish President to submit applications for Capital Outlay projects

Consider selection of projects and submission of applications for CWEF and LGAP funding by the State

Authorize Parish Treasurer to seek quotes for insurances for the Parish

Authorize the Parish Treasurer to seek sealed bid proposals for materials and supplies for the Parish Highway and Solid Waste Departments

Execute an amendment to the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the State and the Parish that includes increased State funding for the Payne Street Improvement Project

Adopt proclamation to proclaim the month of October as Dysautonomia Awareness Month

14 thoughts on “Parish Council meeting heats up over Head Start

  1. Head Start is a money pit for a glorified baby sitting service and is more of a jobs program-funding device for the politically connected. Have read studies that show by the fourth grade you cant tell which children went to or did not go to Head Start.

  2. Head Start is nothing more than a glorified babysitting service used as a cash cow for certain politically connected people. Studies and testing show that by the fourth grade you cant tell which child did or did not go to Head Start. One more thing, the person making the ethics complaints picture is in the dictionary next to the word ironic.

  3. You all left out the fact that Paige is a idiot! Who wants the HRC to fail! And the people in his district continue to vote him in.

  4. What an embarrassment! Yet people keep voting for the same people. It is a shame they cannot work together like grown ups for the betterment of the parish. You cannot expect a different result when you keep making the same mistake with your vote. So let’s clean house and vote in someone who is new on November 16th.

  5. Who thought putting this group in charge of head start was a good idea? Why isn’t the school board in charge of it?

    • Why would you wish that on the SB? Head Start has been nothing but a tax payer funded baby sitting service showing no real benefit in early learning.

  6. Ordinance 019-2019 authorizing the acceptance by the Parish of a donation by Total Environmental Systems, Inc. of the Payne Sewer System to the Parish

    Isn’t this just a bailout of a bad private investment?
    How much will it cost to repair and maintain?
    Shouldn’t these questions be asked and answered before taking on this albatross?
    This needs to be studied before blindly jumping into this cesspool.

    • Exactly and you can bet the bank that taxpayers across the Parish will pick up the bill to make sure this sewer system meets EPA standards….I am sure it was some Federal Grant that built this system to begin with.

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