Parish President V.J. St. Pierre’s attempt to get Luling businessman Neal Clulee removed as the parish’s appointee to the New Orleans Aviation Board was thwarted by the Parish Council on Monday.
Clulee’s appointment to the board will now go back to the New Orleans City Council, which blocked the move in August after a 3-3 tie.
The St. Charles Parish Council overrode St. Pierre’s veto of the pick in a 7-2 vote. Only council members Paul Hogan and Carolyn Schexnaydre voted in St. Pierre’s favor.
St. Pierre said that he vetoed Clulee’s appointment due to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s opposition to the pick. St. Pierre said that Landrieu wants a "lily-white" appointee who does not come with controversy. Clulee is currently a member of the parish’s Planning and Zoning Board and has a sludge hauling contract with the parish.
St. Pierre said that if the parish continues to nominate Clulee to the post, he is worried that St. Charles will lose representation because Landrieu could pick someone from outside the parish to fill the spot.
"I feel that the New Orleans Aviation Board is a major part of the economic engine that drives the economy of our area and it is time to move on and submit another name for approval," St. Pierre said.
But Councilman Clayton "Snookie" Faucheux said the fight is not about Clulee, but instead about an agreement that has been in place for more than 30 years.
A 1985 agreement between St. Charles Parish and the city of New Orleans gave the parish the right to nominate one representative to the nine-member Aviation Board. The New Orleans City Council has final approval of all members.
Faucheux said that if the parish nominates more than one person, as Landrieu has asked, that will change the agreement and could eventually lead to a modification of the agreement or even its end.
Councilman Larry Cochran agreed, saying that it is the council’s decision who should represent St. Charles on the board, not Landrieu’s.
Hogan and Schexnaydre both voted in favor of St. Pierre’s veto because they felt the council should have looked at several candidates.