East Ascension Drainage Board approves agreement with Bill Roux

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Parish Council Chair Teri Casso speaks during the Nov. 4 meeting at the courthouse in Donaldsonville. Council members at her side are Chase Melancon and Travis Turner. The East Ascension Drainage Board consists of all council members with districts on the east side of the parish.

During the Nov. 8 meeting in Gonzales, the East Ascension Drainage Board agreed to enter into an agreement with William Roux LLC to serve as a liaison between the board and parish administration.

Board members Joel Robert and Dal Waguespack voted against, while Dempsey Lambert, Teri Casso, Travis Turner, John Cagnolatti, Chase Melancon, and Aaron Lawler voted in favor. Michael Mason and Corey Orgeron were absent.

The consulting agreement for up to $49,999 per year brings William "Bill" Roux back into the fold, as he served as parish public works director for 18 years. He was first appointed in 2000, and retired in early 2018. 

Lawler said Roux's name has been unfairly "dragged through mud" leading up to the decision to hire him.

"It's just a shame. The vitriol aimed toward him has been unacceptable many times," Lawler said.

He then shared a list of projects Roux worked on during his stint as public works director. 

"A lot of good things happened under the watch of Bill Roux, and he wants to help. That's what this is about, and we're going to work together," Lawler said.

Prior to the vote, Robert asked why Roux was not in attendance.

Parish President Clint Cointment said Roux told him he had not been feeling well, and would be unable to attend the meeting.

Roux has not appeared at any meetings over recent months.

During the public comment period, Catrina Bonomolo commented on the proposal to add Roux.

"I don't think that we need a liaison. You all seem to be working very well, and I appreciate that. I think spending this money again for Mr. Roux is ridiculous," she said.

Members had agreed to defer the matter during the Oct. 18 meeting in Gonzales. The meeting went to recess after board members and citizens in attendance began shouting among each other.

During a special meeting held June 28, Roux was tabbed as interim Chief Executive Officer of drainage as the board voted to remove the parish president as the drainage director.

Cointment and board members held a joint press conference Sept. 29 in Gonzales to announce they had reached a compromise on a new management plan.