Lafourche council to vote on finance director, council member


The Lafourche Parish Council will have the chance Tuesday to vote on a third nominee for parish finance director and fill the vacant council District 5 seat.

Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle has nominated Connie Duet as finance director. Duet has been a fund accountant in the department since 2001. According to her resume, Duet has held various positions within Lafourche Parish government since 1978. She studied basic accounting at Louisiana Technical College from 2001 to 2002 and is a member of the state Government Finance Officers Association.

The council has already voted down two nominees for the job this year, Lionel Lagarde Jr. and Brent Abadie. The department has lacked a permanent director since Feb. 1.

“She’s been there for 40 years; she knows (the parish) inside and out,” Cantrelle said. “I think she’s very well qualified.”

Despite his high recommendation, Cantrelle said he’s uncertain how the Parish Council will act in light of its most recent decision to reject a parish administrator nominee.

The council voted 4-2 against his nomination of Abadie for parish administrator during a special meeting last week.

“How can you turn a man with his qualifications down? He graduated top of his class at Tulane. You can’t get anymore qualifications,” Cantrelle said, expressing frustration about each rejection.

Abadie was the third nominee for administrator to be rejected this year.

The council is also scheduled to vote on an appointment to fill the District 5 seat. Councilman James Bourgeois has been suspended from the position pending an appeal for filing false public records.

According to resumes submitted to the council, there are three applicants for the position: Carrol “Cal” McKey III, a local banker; Craig Jaccuzzo, chief of police at Nicholls State University; and Mark Atzenhoffer, a former elected representative of District 5.

The council must vote on an interim council member to fill the seat by Oct. 12, according to a recent Lafourche District Attorney’s Office opinion.

The interim member will serve until the conviction is reversed on appeal or until the end of the term on Jan. 1, 2020.

In regular parish business, two big-ticket projects are scheduled for bid approval Tuesday — the Lockport/Lafourche Community Center and the Lafourche Parish Airport Access Corridor.

The lowest construction base bid for the Lafourche Community Center came in at about $3.79 million from Onshore Construction LLC.

The parish purchased more than 32 acres of land along Crescent Avenue and La. 1 in Lockport for $458,000 for the project earlier this year.

About $5 million has been allocated for the center, including about $3.6 million in Community Block Development Grant money and $1.5 million from the parish.

The Airport Access Corridor project is expected to be awarded to Beverly Construction Co. LLC for $920,000.

The project is being completed in conjunction with the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, which contributed $100,000.

The project is to construct a two-lane asphalt connector to the airport beginning at La. 308 and Airport Road. Turning lanes and asphalt shoulders for safer access to airport facilities will also be included.

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaArenstam.



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