Charter Commission attains quorum

Wade McIntyre

The Ascension Parish Home Rule Charter Commission recommended against changing the size of the parish council in a meeting Wednesday night.

Member Robert Poche introduced a motion to change the number to take effect after the first reapportionment following the 2010 census. He said the 11- member council’s size was “the number one” concern of people he talked with regarding the work of the Home Rule Charter Commission.

Commission Chairman Milton Clouatre said he received “quite a few calls” on the subject, and that the majority of callers wanted to reduce the size of the parish council.

Member Terri James Casso said the council’s size was what most callers wanted her to address.

She said she had very mixed feelings about the issue, but that if it was ever going to be done, the time was now because of the coming reapportionment of the parish.

Recently appointed commission member Bill Dawson said he saw no compelling reason to change the charter and allow a change in the size of the council.

Casso, Poche voted in favor the motion, while Greg Duplessis, Charles Shivers, Mark Stewart and Dawson voted nay.

The meeting Wednesday was the fourth attempt by the commission in recent months to reach a quorum and conduct business.

The commission has until April 1 to complete its review of the charter and present its suggested changes to the parish council.

Members also added an amendment to the section of the charter dealing with salaries. The amendment requires that salary changes can only take effect in the next term of office after the raise is approved.

The commission made no changes to the section on eminent domain, and postponed until the next meeting possible revisions to the section pertaining to the parish human resources department.