Matassa names new Planning Director

Brandie Richardson @B_Lifestyles

During the June 2 Parish Council meeting, the council approved a recommendation from the Purchasing Department to accept CSRS Inc. as the Engineering Review Agency, but not without much discussion.

Councilman Satterlee objected to the motion, as the selection committee is comprised of non-engineers.

Councilwoman Casso also expressed concerns, saying that she feels if the Parish is going to have a Engineering Review Agency Services, then an engineering committee should be on the board.

"It just makes sense to me, and I think to the public, unless we can present a better argument that this is non-engineering," Casso said. "I don't know that a non-engineering person would feel qualified to make this kind of decision."

Ascension CAO Ken Dawson replied saying that he felt the proposals would be better analyzed by professionals who perform the tasks and processes weekly, as tasks are performed by people with different skill sets, not just engineers.

"To get an engineer to just do it, in my opinion, it wouldn't be all that we would need," Dawson said. "We wanted to make sure from an administrative standpoint that we were reviewing every aspect of the process. Engineering and the technical part is one aspect of that whole process."

Parish President Kenny Matassa announced during his report that the new Ascension Parish Planning and Development Director will be Jerome Fournier. He will take office starting June 15.

Fournier earned a Geography degree from LSU. He worked as an Urban Planner and a Public Finance consultant in California for the past 30 years.

I look forward to working with each one of you and hope to take the opportunity to visit you and drive through your district to understand what the issues are there,” Fournier said. “Hopefully we can work up some mutual solutions to some of the problems that face Ascension Parish.”

The council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance that will bring alternate transportation to the Parish through ride sharing services.

I am ready to welcome a new business to Ascension Parish,” Matassa said. “With this ordinance, companies like Uber can provide alternate transportation services to our residents and visitors. From public safety to new jobs to innovation, ride sharing is a great addition to our community.”

Through an approved ordinance, voting in the Town of Sorrento will be moved from town hall to the new community center.

Additionally, the councilaccepted a bid from theWeekly Citizento bethe official journal of Ascension Parish.