Doucet believes most of the council have no direction

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Former Lafourche Parish Councilman Rodney Doucet believes most of the parish council members have no direction.

Doucet, who teaches at the Career Magnet Center in Lockport, fired back at the council after a majority of its members voted to nix his appointment as parish administrator at the Dec 11 council meeting.

“I knew it was going to happen. I thought I would have had five votes, but that’s the way it is,” Doucet said.

“Most of them have no direction, except for Councilmen Lorraine and Jones.”

“This council needs help and they need guidance, but most of them know they’re not going to get it from me, because I tell it like it is,” he said.

Doucet served on the council for District 8 from 2008 to 2012.

The council vote against Doucet last week, after they learned from Councilman Michael Gros that Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle wanted to pull an original agenda item, which asked the council to appoint Lafourche Parish Manager Tommy Lasseigne as parish administrator.

Cantrelle was not present during the Dec 11 meeting, and Parish Risk Manager Brent Abadie said he was at a meeting with Gov John Bel Edwards.

Gros told Doucet, “It looks like the parish president is trying to flip a coin.”

Council Chairman Luci Sposito said, “That’s unfortunate.”

Abadie chimed in and told the council that Cantrelle felt the council would be more inclined to vote for Doucet instead of Lasseigne, and so that’s why he asked to have a substitute motion placed on the agenda.

Gros asked Doucet if he had a resume; he responded that he didn’t need one because this wasn’t the first time he had appeared before the council (the council first nixed his appointment in April of this year); also, he said Cantrelle and he have been friends for a long time.

A few councilmen called Doucet on-the-carpet, recalling how he made loud outbursts during a meeting in 2016.

Doucet said he was speaking loudly after Councilman Perrilloux had made the comment that government moves fast.

“Government moves fast…are you kidding me? We all know that projects don’t move fast in government-I remember that as a councilman. However, in Lafourche parish, government moves even slower,” Doucet said.

Perrilloux said he recalled the moment, because it was immediately after Cantrelle had fired Reggie Bagala.

He said he didn’t want to lose Bagala, and so he moved that Bagala be appointed as the parish’s legislative auditor, since there was an opening.

“I don’t sugar coat anything. If I got something to say, I’m going to say it,” Doucet said.

Councilman Noonie Autin chided Doucet, “some of us see this as kind of chaotic.”

Perrilloux said, “You’re seen as a malcontent.”

Councilman Jones asked Doucet, “If you’re hired, how can you help us move forward?”

Doucet replied, “For one thing, we need to quit asking the district attorney what his opinion is. We, you, need to ask what is the law?”

Sposito corrected Doucet and said, the district attorney is female.

“Well then she’s probably not going to like it,” Doucet said.

Jones asked Doucet how long does he think he will last as the parish administrator if he is hired, saying he believes the record is five months.

Doucet said he will last longer, hopefully into the new administration.

Councilman Craig Jaccuzzo told Doucet that if he is hired, he needs to find a way to channel his passion positively instead of negatively, because that will cause lots of good things to happen.

Doucet said he wanted the job because he loves a challenge.

“I can get people together. I am approachable,” he said.

Councilman Daniel Lorraine prompted the council for a positive vote.

“This back and forth of no parish administrator is making this council look bad as well as the parish president. It’s got to stop,” he said.

Doucet told the council, “You need to remember that you are here to serve the people of Lafourche Parish, and not yourselves on some type of pedestal.”

“People in Lafourche Parish are groaning and moaning about the chaos between the council and the parish government, across the board. You want my opinion, but that’s the bad thing about me, because I am going to tell you straight. I don’t hold my tongue,” he said.

Voting for Doucet were Councilmen: Jones, Lorraine, Jaccuzo and Autin.

Voting against him were Conuncilmen: Gros, Jerry LaFont, Bo Melvin, Perrilloux and Sposito.

Afterword, Doucet said the council cannot control people and they cannot micromanage the administration.

“You have to let them do their job. When you have diverse opinions among everyone, you have no productivity,” Doucet said.

“The people of Lafourche Parish should always be first, in the front of the line,” he said.

As a result of nixing Doucet, the council will enter 2019 without having a parish administrator.

When the council took office in 2016, Don Matherne was hired as parish administrator. However, he resigned of his own accord in August of the same year.

The council then approved Reggie Bagala for the job. However, Cantrelle fired him in Jan of 2017, and had him escorted out of the Mathews complex by sheriff deputies.

Bagala said Cantrelle allegedly had forced him to call parish council members to make a deal on the parish’s employee health insurance plan in exchange for raises to key employees.

“It was apparent there’s a difference in philosophy between the parish president and myself, in how parish government should work in Lafourche,” Bagala said then.

The council then accepted Cantrelle’s recommendation to appoint Tommy Lasseigne as Lafourche Interim Parish Administrator.

In June 2017, Leif Haas of Thibodaux, was approved and hired for the job.

However, he resigned of his own accord, in Feb of this year.

Council Chairman Sposito said then that she hoped Haas would find a job quickly, as he did, “an incredible job for this parish.”

“He is a smart guy. But there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Cantrelle forced him out.”

Councilman Jones agreed. “Mr. Cantrelle runs the parish administration like a plantation owner. That’s the mentality we’re dealing with.”

To replace Haas, the council once again approved Cantrelle’s recommendation of Tommy Lasseigne to be Interim Parish Administrator.

Lasseigne served the parish until this past August, when the council fired him.

Councilman Jerry Jones said then that Lasseigne is one of the most “conniving managers,” that he has every worked with.

“Most of what he does on the job later turns out in some way, for him personally, like firing someone because someone he knows doesn’t like that person,” Jones said. 

“He talks down to people, schemes on them, I can go on and on,” he said.

With Lasseigne out, Cantrelle nominated and the council approved Parish Risk Manager Brent Abadie for the job as Interim Parish Administrator.

But Cantrelle took a step further last month, and brought Abadie forward to the council as his choice for a permanent administrator. But, the council nixed the idea.

So Abadie then return to work as Interim Parish Administrator.

The council disagreed with that idea, and sought an injunction to stop Cantrelle from doing so; and earlier this month, Judge Buddy Larose granted one.

Rodney Doucet