Palazzo to replace Braud as Lead Parish AttorneyOct 30th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
After weeks of deferring the matter, the council approved Parish President Billy Nungesser’s appointment of Leo Palazzo as Lead Parish Attorney by a 6 – 2 vote.
Palazzo, who ran for Plaquemines Parish Sheriff in 2011, is the owner of Jefferson Parish- based Palazzo Law Firm. He will be replacing Steve Braud
upon his October 31 retirement.
Councilmen Kirk Lepine and Burghart Turner did not support the measure on the grounds that Palazzo will be taking on other clients at his personal firm while working for the parish for an $125,000 annual salary.
“If we’re going to pay $125,000 they need to work solely for this government and not take any other clients,” said Turner.
Palazzo explained to the council that he currently has “two or three other businesses and works about 60 to 80 hours per week.” Despite his workload, Palazzo said he is confident he is a good fit for the job.
“I think my twenty-plus years experience as a litigator is going to assist the legal team tremendously, a lot more than what’s going on now; Mr. Braud has taken more of a role as an administrator, I think I’m going to have to take more of an active role,” said Palazzo.
Palazzo pledged to the council that he would be accessible and available at every meeting.
“I’m not gonna bring four lawyers in here at the meetings; I’m gonna be here,” said Palazzo. “I plan on being here, I plan on running a legal team like a do at my law firm—I have a whole staff who handles stuff for me at my law firm right now—from what I’ve been told and what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get us on track.”
Additionally, Lepine—who has two items on the council agenda that would require a member from the parish’s finance and grants departments to attend every council meeting—said he had a problem with Braud’s lack of accessibility during PPC meetings.
“I’m in opposition to [the appointment],” said Lepine. “Nothing against you Mr. Palazzo, but talk is cheap.”
District 2 Councilman Keith Hinkley argued that the council should not deny Palazzo the job because of previous mistakes.
“I think we need give Mr. Palazzo the opportunity to stand on his own,” said Hinkley.
Palazzo will begin work as Lead Parish Attorney November 1.
Other council news:
• The council will soon be coming to a vote on the parish’s borrow
pit ordinance. To give the council time to rewrite the parish’s
cloudy borrow pit ordinance, there has been a six-month moratorium
on borrow pit permits since June. The council is asking
residents to provide input on the two ordinances up for vote at the
November 8 council meeting. One offered by Councilchair Byron
Marinovich allows borrow pit operators who are selling their dirt
for in-parish projects to not backfill. The other, offered by District
6 Councilman Burghart Turner says that every borrow pit operator
must backfill. Marinovich says that the PPC is more than likely to
vote on the issue before their last meeting of 2012.
• Although an extension of Temporary Housing Assistance was
granted two weeks ago, Hurricane Isaac victims reported at the PPC
meeting that they have been given an October 28 deadline to vacate
their hotels. “Come Sunday, we’re out on the street again, we
have no place to go,” said Ironton resident Elliott Sylve, who got
the notice slipped under the door of his hotel room. Marinovich
said that Grants Administrator Benny Puckett wrote a compelling
letter to FEMA asking for a three month extension and the parish
is waiting for a response. “Right now we’re waiting on an answer;
we’re hoping and praying that they extend it,” said Marinovich.