INAUGURATIONJan 11th, 2011 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: top story
Parish President Billy Nungesser and the nine parish councilmembers swore their oaths of office last week in a packed ceremony at the Buras Auditorium.
Parish President Billy Nungesser and Councilmembers Keith Hinkley of District 2, Stuart Guey of District 4, Anthony Buras of District 5, Burghart Turner of District 6, and Marla Cooper of District 9 start their second term of office.
Starting their first is Councilmen Percy Griffith of District 1, Kirk Lepine of District 3, Jeff Edgecombe of District 7 and Byron Marinovich of District 8.
The overwhelming theme: cooperation, a quality the preceding two Plaquemines governmental branches lacked in abundance.
Councilman Guey spoke for the council after the oaths, relaying a message of change. He had surveyed his colleagues earlier to collect their ideas for the 2011-2014 term.
“In reviewing our comments a central theme became very apparent,” said Guey. “Words like working together as a complete unit, ridding ourselves of any personal agendas, focusing on the conditions of our parish and the lives of our people, a desire for cooperation between the Council and the Parish President and an understanding of and abiding to the duties of each branch.”
The list went on.
Guey also outlined the four priorities the council has decided to work for during the next four years:
1- Fund and complete the Coastal Plan,
2- Develop and authorize the Parish-wide Master Plan,
3- Redistricting based on the data from the 2010 Census,
4- the Port.
“Finally, after all the years of empty talk, we are in a position to realistically see a bright and promising future for major Port development in Plaquemines Parish.,” Guey said. “Once funding is secure, a Port will be built, in the best location and the residents of Plaquemines Parish will be the recipient of the jobs and revenues.”
Parish President Nungesser focused his words on the future and forgetting the past.
“The rumors, the negative stuff, lets leave it behind,” he said.
He then commented on specific concerns in the parish.
“I took a pledge that we never be forgotten again,” said Nungesser, comparing media coverage of Plaquemines Parish after Katrina and after the BP oil spill. In fact, on the Friday after the ceremony, Nungesser hosted a media tour of Bay Jimmy, an area West of Myrtle Grove with significant oil damage to the marshes.
“BP, we’re not finished with you,” he warned.
He and other parish presidents from the affected areas are soon traveling to Washington D.C. to meet with President Obama.
Locally, he made the more than 30 Eastbank residents in attendance happy when he announced his plans for their levee system.
“We will not stop until every levee, Eastbank and Westbank has 100 year protection,” he said. Both banks of the parish have gaps in 100-year levee protection.
Judge Michael Kirby, who swore in several councilmembers and Nungesser, had some words of wisdom, comparing their working relationship during the next four years to marriage.
“You are in a sense now married to each other,” he said. “Perhaps you did not choose each other, but we chose you.”