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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Lafourche Parish administrator fired, Council to hold special meeting Thursday

Lafourche Parish administrator fired, Council to hold special meeting Thursday

Lafourche Parish Administrator Reggie Bagala was fired from his position Tuesday.

Councilman Jerry Jones confirmed the termination, saying he had spoken to Bagala about it.

"It's stupid," Jones said. "(Parish President James Cantrelle) wants to bring back Tommy Lasseigne in the interim, but he's not going to get the vote. Only two people on the council would vote for him. This is ridiculous. The parish is at a stand still. Jimmy Cantrelle spent half a million or a quarter of a million or however much money he did to prove to Lafourche Parish that he doesn't know what he's doing. It's crooked."

Other council members have also voiced their displeasure at the news.

"I'm truly, truly disappointed," said Lafourche Parish Councilman Armand Autin. He's a phenomenal, educated and highly competent and efficient person who was well liked by all the council members and employees of the parish government."

Lafourche Parish Council Vice Chairwoman Luci Sposito said she is "very disappointed" and that Bagala "represented Lafourche Parish well."

"He was highly qualified for his position and his temperament was well suited for that of a parish administrator. He was knowledgeable and his experience will not easily be replaced," Sposito said. "I pray that he'll find a position where his integrity, honesty and loyalty will be respected and appreciated."

Councilman Michael Gros said he had spoken to Bagala earlier about calls from the parish president to resign and was "extremely disappointed" with the news of the parish administrator's termination.

"(Bagala is) a really good guy and everyone on the council really liked him," Gros said.

Lafourche Parish Council Chairman Corey Perrillioux also said Bagala did not deserve to be fired and was a "consummate professional."

"Mr. Bagala is the second administrator in just over a year," Perrilioux added. "There is evidently some terrible decision making happening regarding personnel with this parish president. I would advise him to find better advisers."

Cantrelle said he does not comment on employees. Other members of the parish council have been contacted, but have not made a statement at this time or said they are still looking into the matter.

The Lafourche Parish Council was expected to hold a special meeting Thursday on whether to declare a vote of no-confidence in Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle.

"There has been a groundswell of displeasure with the way the parish president has been conducting business," said Lafourche Parish Council Chairman Corey Perrillioux. "Council members and residents alike have voiced concern about the state of the parish, the lack of transparency and the recklessness in which employees are treated."

Perrillioux also referred to the parish president posting to social media about how much he had saved the parish on its health insurance policy without mentioning "those savings were on the backs of our parish employees in the form of a rate increase."

"We've experienced the highest number of civil service complaints in one year than ever before," Perrillioux said. "Questions of ethics violations are being reviewed by state authorities. The list goes on and on. The residents of Lafourche Parish both expect and deserve leadership that will conduct parish business professionally, respectfully and with the highest degree of integrity. I assure the residents of the parish that a majority of the council has their best interest in mind."

The council is also seeking a vote to hire the recently fired parish administrator, Reggie Bagala, to be the legislative internal auditor. This comes after Cantrelle's firing of Bagala Tuesday.

The last item the council will address is a request for the district attorney to look into clarifying the parish's rules for the appointment of an interim parish administrator.

A no confidence vote is a symbolic gesture expressing the feelings of the council. The council does not have the authority to remove the parish president. That would require a recall election by the parish's voters.

Cantrelle said he had no comment regarding the vote.

The meeting was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Mathews Government Complex at 4876 La. 1 in Mathews.