In ongoing spat, some council members want Ascension president removed from drainage decisions
DONALDSONVILLE - As tensions continue to rise over last month's flash flood, some council members said they want to remove Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment from making any more decisions on drainage and appoint a professional to the post instead.
"Drainage is very specialized," Councilman Aaron Lawler said. "It's very much about having the engineering, knowledge and hydrologic knowledge of how the parish works. Surrounding parishes work because it all feeds into us. We need someone with specialized knowledge and experience that can do this."
Council Chairwoman Teri Casso said a recent trip with other council members to Houston put their plan into motion. She said Houston along with other major cities employ a drainage professional with a drainage plan to handle their community's issues.
"It's not dictated by the four-year political cycle," Casso said. "So, there's continuity in how they approach drainage. There's education for their community about how drainage can be approached."
A good portion of Casso's district is still draining as a result of last month's flash flooding.
"Those folks are angry, and I don't blame them," Casso said. "I don't know how to help them. It has been a disaster for my community."
Casso believes decisions to cut the road to alleviate flooding in the Spanish Lake Basin were made days too late. The road cuts to drain the basin helped drain water into Bayou Manchac.
Last week, Parish President Clint Cointment got into another back and forth with the council after they passed a revised moratorium. Cointment, who originally proposed a year-long pause, did not think it would work due to the shorter time frame.
"It's going to be a failure," Cointment said. "Listen to me and watch what happens in nine months. It will be a failure."
During that interview, another Councilman Corey Orgeron interrupted the interview telling Cointment to "dig ditches and dredge canals."
The item to hire a professional over drainage is supposed to be taken up at an emergency drainage meeting scheduled for Monday.
The Chairman of the Drainage Board, Dempsey Lambert, said he supports the plan to hire a professional.
Parish President Clint Cointment released the following statement Friday.
“My initial impression is that this is a bad idea and the timing couldn’t be worse. What I want and what I’ve always wanted is to keep water out of peoples homes. I will do all I can to accomplish that goal.”