The week of October 4, 2021 found the parish president out of the country on vacation. In his absence he appointed the parish treasurer to serve as acting president. But the parish treasurer had a prior obligation to be in Baton Rouge for up to three days for a seminar. Yes, the Home Rule Charter allows the appointed acting president to be out of the parish for up to 72 hours, but why appoint that person knowing, or the parish president should have known, your appointee would be gone as well? Why not select someone else who would physically be present for the week? It is fortunate no emergency occurred, like weather-related, since the parish was left leaderless.
Also, beginning October 4, two new employees began their jobs. One as executive assistant to the president, and the other over permitting for the parish. These roles had previously been filled by one person who was leaving the parish, effective October 5. It was hoped that the departing employee could provide a measure of training for the new hires in two days. How much training can one person provide for two others in just two days? By Wednesday, October 6, the two new hires were totally on their own with no one they could turn to with questions.
Now, according to his plans, the parish president will hire a third person to complete the tasks of the one departing employee. At this time there is conflicting information presented about the total salaries and benefits for these three new hires, but it might approach $186,000 annually. Two of the positions have a direct bearing on permitting and zoning and planning. Yet, the parish just contracted with a company that is providing some, if not most, of those services. Are all three positions necessary?
The parish council recognizes the authority of the office of president, Natchitoches Parish, to provide for the management and administration of the parish government. It is equally true that the parish council serves as a check and balance to the parish government, and holds the reins of the budget, responsible for the “power of the purse” to monitor spending. The Council also desires to offer transparency keeping the public, taxpayers, apprised of parish government spending, and the management of the parish’s limited budget.
Parish Council Woman
Natchitoches Parish, District #2
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