'I did a terrible job,' Matassa says of how he handled employee's firing
GONZALES - In a letter emailed to WBRZ Tuesday afternoon, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa apologized for his handling of an employee's termination recently.
The firing of planning director Ricky Compton was the focus of a WBRZ Investigative Unit report last week. In a recording, land owner Dempsey Pendarvis claims he orchestrated Compton's firing and likened it to a campaign promise. Campaign finance reports show he donated at least $500 to Matassa's campaign for parish president.
Tuesday, Matassa wrote he wanted to clarify Compton's firing.
"In retrospect, I could have handled Mr. Compton’s dismissal with greater sensitivity," Matassa wrote.
Matassa argued Compton was fired for moving too slow on making decisions about projects. Compton, and some others, argued he was a victim of the "good ole boy" network.
Matassa said he had philosophical differences with Compton, but should have dealt with the termination differently.
"...He was an eight-year employee and deserved a direct conversation from me," Matassa wrote. "I regret that I was not personally involved. Upon reflection, I realized that and allowed him to resign."
Matassa also wrote he wished he did a better job of explaining the situation in an interview for the Investigative Unit report, where he provided a shaky explanation: "I talked to (Ricky Compton) and said I was disappointed in some of the content, but I... um you know... I make all my own decisions and move forward," Matassa said.
Matassa wrote Tuesday, his answer sounded odd and raised more questions than answers.
"Frankly, I did a terrible job explaining. I apologize for not being as articulate as I should have been during the TV interview. I will never win an award for public speaking, but that should not imply a lack of integrity in my leadership."
Click HERE to read the entire letter.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz