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St. Pierre: More input needed on aviation board appointee

Jonathan Menard -   Sep 20, 2012

After the New Orleans City Council blocked Luling businessman Neal Clulee from representing St. Charles on the New Orleans Aviation Board, the St. Charles Parish Council reaffirmed its decision to appoint Clulee on Monday.

The New Orleans City Council vote was tied at 3-3 when Clulee was first nominated and a motion cannot pass on a tie vote. Council members Stacy Head, Susan Guidry and Ernest Charbonnet all voted in Clulee’s favor. St. Charles District Attorney Joel Chaisson II, Sheriff Greg Champagne and other St. Charles council members all spoke in favor of Clulee.

However New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked the council to vote against the appointment because he said Clulee wasn’t a consensus candidate.

St. Charles Parish Councilman Clayton "Snookie" Faucheux said on Monday that Head, Guidry and Charbonnet called him and asked him to sponsor another resolution naming Clulee as the parish’s appointee, which would allow the New Orleans council to vote on the matter again.

Councilman Paul Hogan and Parish President V.J. St. Pierre both said they were against Clulee’s appointment to the aviation board.

"Without knowing that this is the best applicant to represent St. Charles Parish and knowing that there are other applicants out there without the council having vetting them, I can’t support this," Hogan said.

St. Pierre, who Faucheux accused of politicking against Clulee, also said that others should have had more input on the decision to nominate Clulee.

"When I have to get ya’ll to confirm one of my directors they have to fill out an application and they come in and interview everybody. (Former Councilman) Marcus (Lambert) made the decision right off the top of his head," St. Pierre said. "Nobody had any input."

St. Pierre said that Clulee already has the parish’s sludge hauling contract and is a member of the Planning and Zoning Board.

"I mean what’s unfair about that? I don’t have a problem with that. The problem is (the New Orleans Aviation Board) is the most important board of the city of New Orleans," St. Pierre said. "That is the economic engine that drives New Orleans."

St. Pierre added that in his opinion, Clulee should not be a member of that board.

Council members Terrell Wilson, Larry Cochran, Dennis Nuss, Snookie Faucheux, Shelley Tastet and Wendy Benedetto voted to reaffirm Clulee’s appointment to the aviation board. Council members Hogan and Carolyn Schexnaydre voted against it while Councilwoman Traci Ackerman-Fletcher was absent.

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