Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment removed from overseeing drainage projects in tense special meeting
GONZALES - Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment was removed Monday from his position overseeing parish drainage projects.
The East Ascension Drainage District, which is made up of parish council members, voted 6-4 in favor of removing Cointment, during a special meeting hastily announced. Cointment's removal and replacement were the only focuses of the meeting, which ran until after 9 p.m.
Prior to the vote, dozens of residents spoke out in support of keeping Cointment in charge of drainage. Those showing up to push for his ouster were in the single digits.
Public comments spanned roughly two hours.
"When the flood was going on [in May,] while everybody else was at your house sleeping, 2 o'clock in the morning, [Cointment] was up, helping people with sandbags, trying to make a difference," one resident emphatically told the board. "Now that's what you call leading by an example, and that's what he should be [doing] and that's what each and everyone of you should be doing."
A substitute motion to table any votes on Cointment's future with the drainage board failed. Some council members called for a 'cooling off' period, citing the contentious moratorium debate earlier this month, which further fractured the rocky relationship between the council and administration.
Minutes after being removed from the drainage board, Cointment addressed the vote.
"Look at what happened in the last two meetings, packed house, comments after comments fell on deaf ears," Cointment said. "The people of this parish have no voice. What do you do about that? I mean, that's the more concerning thing."
When asked what his next steps would be, Cointment did not give any specifics, but hinted at a potential legal fight.
"Obviously, this issue has to be looked at legally," Cointment said. "Where's the details? Where's the plan? How are they going to pull this off? None of that was talked about."
After the vote to remove Cointment, the board voted to create a CEO position. William Roux, the parish's former drainage director, was named to the position on an interim basis.
Dozens of residents lambasted council members following the vote, vowing to recall those who voted to remove Cointment, including the three council members, Aaron Lawler, Corey Orgeron and Teri Casso, who sponsored the special meeting agenda items.
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