Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle’s hope that his nominations for department head positions would find favor with the Lafourche Parish Council was nearly dashed last Tuesday night when Tommy Lasseigne was barely approved by 5-4 vote to fill the Finance Director/Human Resources Director’s position.
At the January 26 public meeting in Mathews, Councilmen Jerry Lafont, Corey Perrillioux, Aaron “Bo” Melvin, and Armand Autin said “no” to Lasseigne’s nomination.
Before the vote, Lasseigne answered questions about his qualifications and background.
District 6 Councilman Cory Perrillioux asked Lasseigne about his recent employment with the Parish as Internal
Auditor and the manner in which he suddenly quit the job.
“I’m curious. I’d like to know why you left with no notice and put a “Gone Fishing” sign on your desk?” asked Perrillioux.
“That was a joke,” replied Lasseigne. “I chose not to give a notice. I was doing nothing. I refused to sit in my desk and get a check for doing nothing.”
Perrillioux also questioned Lasseigne’s hours while in the Auditor role, to which Lasseigne replied: “The chairman dictates when you work. Different chairmen, different times.”
Lasseigne had worked under the guidance of Chairman Joe Fertitta in 2014, before working under the direction of Chairman Jerry Lafont in 2015.
“Do you have a broad experience in running an extensive financial department?” asked Perrillioux.
“Yes. I ran Key Medical Supply for 4-5 years; one of the fastest growing companies in America for 2 years in a row. I made a lot of money for them,” said Lasseigne.
About Lasseigne’s fiduciary responsibility, Perrillioux asked: “Have you ever been charged or convicted of fiduciary mismanagement? I think we have a right to know that if you handle the taxpayers’ money, we’d like to know if there was ever a problem in the past with liens or judgments or something like that.”
Lasseigne stated he had no liens or judgments against him. “You can check; it’s all public record,” he stated.
To prove that he has been subject to a recent background check, Lasseigne showed his TWIC card, or Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a U. S. Coast Guard identification card issued after extensive criminal background investigation to any individual seeking access to secure areas of port facilities, offshore facilities, or certain regulated vessels.
Councilman Armand Autin then took up the questioning.
“I have some issues. Many people see you as divisive and controversial, regardless of your academic qualifications. You have had some judgments. However you said on the record you had none,” said Autin.
Autin then offered documents to Lasseigne; one he said was a judgment against Lasseigne for $1400 and another for $3000.
Autin expressed his feeling that it would be insulting to Councilman Melvin if he supported Lasseigne, who had run against Melvin for the District 4 seat last year.
“The constituents in that area approved him and disapproved you representing them in parish government. How can I go back and approve you in such a significant part of parish government when the constituency in your locale didn’t support you?” he asked.
Lasseigne responded: “These (judgments) are old. 1984. Its 32 years ago. I paid the last one off 2 years ago.
When I went back to school I lost everything. And I worked and I came back. One of these judgments I’ve never heard of.”
Lasseigne further commented about judgments saying contractors must often go to court.
“It’s part of business. The parish gets sued all the time,” he said.
In other action, the council unanimously ratified Cantrelle’s pick, Doug Cheramie of Golden Meadow, for Communication Director.
Cheramie is a Louisiana State University graduate, a consultant, worked for former congressmen Billy Tauzin and Charlie Melancon, and has been a contributing writer for the Lafourche Gazette.
“I look forward to working with the Parish President. My first duty is to get organized, to broaden the position,” he said, seeing his role as much more than a public information source.
“I will attend events the Parish President cannot attend, like levee district meetings, to show we’re there as a partner and to offer anything they may need to help them,” he said.
Posted on Tue, February 2, 2016
by Buster Avera, Contributing Writer