Conspicuously absent from Tuesday’s Parish Council Public Meeting in Mathews were Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle and all but one member of his administration.
Only Finance Director Connie Duet attended but, from her seat in the audience, declined to comment either on the absence of department heads or on financial questions.
Cantrelle was recovering from eye surgery, said Councilman Bo Melvin.
Council members also intimated that the administration had been instructed “not to say anything” about a possible District Attorney inquiry into Brent Abadie’s serving as Interim Parish Administrator after being voted down for the permanent position.
Abadie was nominated by Cantrelle for the position of Parish Administrator on September 25.
At that time, Councilman Daniel Lorraine asked and succeeded in getting the council to defer a vote on his appointment until October 23, saying “it would give Abadie a chance to let the council see what kind of job he’s doing."
But upon advice of Assistant District Attorney Lisa Orgeron, who cited the urgency of voting on Abadie’s ratification before October 6, the council then held a special meeting October 1 to vote on the position.
After much debate, Abadie was voted down 2-4. Lorraine and Gros voted for Abadie’s appointment, but Lafont, Melvin, Autin and Sposito voted “no”. Jones was absent. District 5 seat was vacant.
Despite the council’s vote, Cantrelle still appointed Abadie as Interim Administrator.
At Tuesday’s meeting, two ordinances were deferred because some council members had unanswered questions about them.
Also, a resolution approving an agreement between Lafourche Parish and St. James Parish to provide training and job opportunities for senior citizens was rejected because of lack of information on the proposal.
“I expected to at least get some questions answered. We’ve all missed meetings. But when I look to the right and see that empty gallery there, it’s not so much that we can’t get questions answered, but the public has a right to know what’s happening and why. I understand if they don’t have the answers, but if they refuse to answer questions or tell is why there’s no administration, that bothers me,” said Melvin.
Councilman Jerry Lafont also abstained from voting on several measures for lack of information.
Posted on Fri, October 26, 2018
by By Buster Avera Contributing Writer