Letter to the Editor – Patsy Ward-Hoover

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Dear Editor:

I represent District #2 and the citizens of Natchitoches Parish. I defend all council members even though we disagree on some items on the agenda. Citizens of Natchitoches, please read my stance on our Parish President in the blame game. Leadership is the process by which a person influences others to accomplish a goal or goals and directs the organization or team in a way that makes it more unified and sound.

In the Thursday, March 25, 2021, print edition

To accomplish this unity, leadership must use characteristics such as honesty, knowledge, skills and respect for the creativity and opinions of others. Good leadership is not self-serving nor does it misuse authority to prevent a good image for itself at the expense of making the rest of the team look bad. Therefore, as a leader, I think it is important to explain several of the duties a Natchitoches Parish Council member has. Residents from various districts have repeatedly requested that the roads, bridges and drainage system be repaired in their areas. Because this is a serious problem in the parish, it is often an agenda item open for discussion.

Why is it shameful to discuss an issue that is so problematic in our parish and why should it be called a complaint? The issue that needs addressing is not shameful or complaining, it’s the problem the parish has concerning the lack of repair of the roads, bridges and drainage systems. To insure that residents receive factual and helpful information, a council member has the right to openly ask questions and discuss agenda items to insure residents get the appropriate information they need.

There is no shame in making sure they are properly served. The right to cast a vote and express an opinion is another duty that each member of the council possesses. In view of the fact that there are often many requests for items to be placed on the agenda, a deadline is used to ensure council members receive packets at least a week in advance to review and research additional information.

It is never the responsibility of the Parish Council to make sure constituents or other parish departments make this deadline. When I voted not to add an item to the agenda from the Parish Engineer, it was based on professional reasoning. If the Parish Engineer decided to take a vacation or leave of absence, it was still his responsibility to ensure all parish business and documentation was taken care of before departure.

If a delay could cause such a liability to the parish, then making the deadline for the agenda should have been of utmost importance. Also, the Parish President’s office had the authority to submit the request, which is just a few steps from the Parish Council’s office. So, instead of saying I was critical, the correct expression for this scenario is, “I saw an explanation that was not acceptable and provided words of wisdom for future request submissions.”

Patsy Ward-Hoover

Patsy Ward Hoover