LETTER: No problem with drainage

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The drainage report was rosy at the East Ascension Gravity Drainage District meeting on Monday night. Projects are progressing. Drainage manager, Bill Roux, has demonstrated that when drainage operations are separate from the parish president citizens get “the most bang for their buck.” Two years ago while I was serving on the Ascension Parish Council, management was taken from the parish president. We now know that every parish president has used dedicated drainage funds for non-dedicated activities. Having sat under both arrangements, I can honestly say, that there is no reason to place the administration of drainage back under the parish president. Why fix what isn’t broken?

President Martinez, however, is doing his best to convince some of the newcomers that he should be in control. There is no problem with drainage, but they are trying to come up with a good excuse why the parish president should take charge of drainage. They haven’t found one yet. Worried that such a decision will receive unfavorable political consequences from the voting public, they are dragging their feet with a special sub-committee set to meet on Jan. 22.

Two new commissioners, fishing for a good reason to excuse their support for moving drainage back to the parish president, questioned Mr. Roux about a recent quote in the newspaper. Both times it was made clear that the only reason Bill would support moving drainage operations back to the parish president would be selfish: To remove himself from the political heat. It sounds to me like some of the commissioners are making individual demands outside of the Drainage Board meetings.

A parish councilman must work with the parish president. That’s how the Charter is set up. When a councilman sits as a commissioner he must take off his council hat and put on his commissioner’s hat. The two are not the same. The politics of the Council should not dictate the decisions of the Drainage Board. In both cases, choices must be made that will be serve the people not the politicians.

The “right” decision is to leave drainage as it is, separate from the parish president. This is the only decision that will serve the people not the politicians.

Cheryl Fontenot