Dawning of a new era in parish as St. Pierre, nine others sworn into office

January 16, 2008 at 9:24 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

V.J. St. Pierre gives his first speech as parish president at the inauguration ceremony.
Jonathan Menard
V.J. St. Pierre gives his first speech as parish president at the inauguration ceremony.
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, along with nine other councilmen and women, can officially drop the "elect" from their title after they were sworn in at an inauguration ceremony in front of the St. Charles Parish Courthouse on Jan. 13.

St. Pierre, Carolyn Schexnaydre, Shelley Tastet, Marcus Lambert, Dennis Nuss, Terry Authement, Billy Raymond, Wendy Benedetto, Paul Hogan and Larry Cochran all began their terms the next evening with their first council meeting.

During his first speech as parish president, St. Pierre said that he was honored and humbled to be able to serve the citizens of the parish for the next four years. He said that, like his campaign slogan first identified, one of his main goals will be bridging the gap between the east and west banks.

"I am committed to building a community that has a strong foundation, a foundation that has been nurtured throughout the years by capable leadership," St. Pierre said. "I am committed to building a community for all citizens; connecting east bank and west bank, black, white, latino, rich, poor, old and young."

St. Pierre also told those in attendance about some of  his main goals upon taking office. Not surprisingly, St. Pierre will make levee protection a top priority and said that it is "essential to secure the safety of people and property."
He also wants to imbed ethical practices in government that will be acceptable to the people of the parish.

"These practices include efficient utilization of technology, focus on customer service, effective use of parish assets and securing funding through grants and sources and maintaining fiscal responsibility," he said.

St. Pierre also went on to say that the parish needs to establish and maintain an adequate infrastructure that can support growth. This will include maintenance, water, sewage, public works and construction.

"Parish growth will also make it necessary to develop a comprehensive land use plan and improve public communication on zoning," he said.

Keynote speaker John Kennedy, who was elected to his third term as state treasurer last year, emphasized the importance of local government during his speech.

"As we all know in our republic and democracy, we have three levels of government; the federal, the state and local," he said. "I will tell you in my view, service at the local government level is the most difficult and very possibly the most important."

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