Ascension Parish Council's Joel Robert proposes term limits, censure fines

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
The Ascension Parish Council's District 2 representative, Joel Robert, listens to a speaker during the West Ascension Drainage meeting held March 3 at the Donaldsonville courthouse.

Ascension Parish Council member Joel Robert, the Strategic Planning committee chair, has proposed term limits and fines for censures.

The District 2 member, who represents areas on both the east and west sides of the parish, added the items to the committee meeting March 8 in Gonzales.

"Term limits have been discussed from time to time in Ascension, generally garnering solid public support. In fact, the most recent Home Rule Charter Revision Committee proposed a new charter, which included term limits," the agenda included.

The proposal on the agenda suggested three consecutive full terms of office would deem an individual ineligible for election for the succeeding term. The East Baton Rouge Parish term limit section was included as an example.

Implementing term limits ultimately would go to parish voters.

In the censure item, the agenda pointed out "numerous occasions" over the first two years of the council's current terms where members "have acted less than decorously."

Council members censured Robert in August 2020 after leaving an expletive-filled voicemail on the council secretary's phone. He also offered an apology at the time.

Additionally, the council agreed to censure District 4's Corey Orgeron in October 2021 following an East Ascension Drainage Board meeting that devolved into shouting and led to a recess. 

Both censures passed without opposition.

Robert has suggested a fine of $5,000 for members who are censured.