New Director of Public Works appointed; roads first issue

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By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

One of the most important things the Parish Council did at its meeting Monday was to appoint John Richmond director of public works. He will replace the interim director, Earl Townsend, Jan. 1, pending passing a background check, physical examination and drug test. The council unanimously approved the selection of Richmond upon the recommendation of Parish President Rick Nowlin.

The ad hoc committee of Nowlin, Human Resources Coordinator Cathy Creamer and Townsend considered four applicants. “His combination of education, work history and knowledge of construction activities and supervisory experience made him the right choice,” Nowlin wrote in his recommendation. Richmond is presently a construction manager for Regional Construction, a local road building company. Prior to that, he was a vice president of Shaw/CBI in Baton Rouge, a multinational design and construction company. His earlier experience involved the management of construction projects including roads and bridges.

Richmond holds a bachelor of science degree in construction engineering technology from La. Tech University and a master’s degree in business administration from LSU. Nowlin said his annual salary will be $78,000 which is reasonable for his experience, background in construction and construction technology. Richmond said he was familiar with parish roads because he travels them every day.

The council authorized Nowlin to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement with residents of Shamard Heights and surrounding neighborhoods to contribute $17,000 to resurface Kayla Drive with Parish Government paying the same amount. The residents in Shamard Heights and Bocage subdivisions proposed the repair of the road for 850 feet starting at the intersection of Kayla Drive and La. 3278.

In Nowlin’s recommendation, he said that Parish checked the amount of road taxes paid by the owners of property accessed by Kayla Drive and found that the total paid is approximately $6,600 per year. The amount of road repairs by the Parish in this area over the past four years is $13,086, or less than $3,300 per year.

“This neighborhood is one of those areas in which road taxes collected there are used to pay for repairs to roads in other areas where insufficient road taxes are being collected to cover the cost of road repairs in other areas,” his recommendation stated. No work will be done until the property owners put up the money.

In other business, the council did the following:

•Appointed Harvis Junior Johnson to Fire District 1 board to replace Charles Roge´; Nowlin said there are seven board members and two have not met meeting requirements so he will make a recommendation for their replacements.

•Reappointed Ed Giering and Calvin McFerrin to the Water Works District No. 1 board. •Reappointed Ralph Hernandez and George Culpepper to the Fire District 5 board •Approved a payment of $7,500 to the LSU Ag Center.