The new Lafourche Parish president will build its own leadership team, keeping just one of the previous administration’s department heads.
The Parish Council voted unanimously last week to approve all five of Parish President Archie Chaisson’s appointments.
Three of Chaisson’s appointees had previously led parish departments while the other two are newcomers to local government.
Ahead of the votes, Councilman Daniel Lorraine said he found all of the appointees qualified to serve based on their resumes and believed the council should give the parish president his choices.
“He wanted these people, and that’s what we should give him,” he said.
Human Resources Director Savonye Townsend and Finance Director Renita Jackson served in the same roles during the Charlotte Randolph administration, when Chaisson was parish administrator. Jackson has also worked in the parish’s finance department for 17 years while Townsend has served several other public entities like school districts.
Lorraine said he remembered both appointees from the Randolph administration, stating they both did a great job.
Of Jackson, council chairman Armand Autin said, “She’s very, very effective and efficient. I’m happy to see her back.”
Chaisson kept Planning Director Tony Breaux, who served for all four years under former parish president Jimmy Cantrelle.
Lorraine said, “In the last four years, Tony turned the permitting process around.”
Parish Administrator Mitch Orgeron and Public Works Director Dillon Baronne come with backgrounds in the private sector.
Orgeron has worked for liftboat provider Offshore Marine Contractors for eight years and owns Lockport-based consulting firm Waypoint Advisors. Baronne has worked for Larose construction company Picciola and Associates and the Thibodaux-based Acadia Land Surveying.
Autin said the public works director was one of the parish’s most difficult positions after the presidency, given the area’s issues with flooding and drainage.
Multiple councilmen agreed that former public works director James Barnes had done an excellent job balancing the roles responsibilities and addressing the public’s concerns.
Councilman Michael Gros advised Baronne to use Barnes as a resource.
Chaisson said he made his selections not based on friendships but skill.
After the council’s votes, he said, “We went and found the most talented people we could to help run this administration.”
Salaries for Lafourche Parish Government’s new department heads are:
• Mitch Orgeron, Parish Administrator, $93,000.
• Renita Jackson, Finance Director, $87,000.
• Savonye Townsend, Human Resources Director, $73,000.
• Tony Breaux, Planning Director, $86,000.
• Dillon Baronne, Public Works Director, $91,478.
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at email@example.com 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.
Posted on Tue, January 21, 2020
by By Halle Parker | Daily Comet Staff Writer