St. Charles Herald-Guide

St. Pierre vetoes another ordinance concerning Aviation Board nominee

Jonathan Menard - December 3, 2012

For the second time in a little more than a month, St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre has vetoed an ordinance that concerns the parish’s appointment to the New Orleans Aviation Board.

The Parish Council chose Luling businessman Neal Clulee as their appointment to the board last year, but the move was blocked by the New Orleans City Council, which failed to approve Clulee in a 3-3 tie. When the St. Charles Parish Council once again nominated Clulee to the post, New Orleans Mayor Landrieu filed suit asking a judge to declare that he has sole appointing powers to the aviation board. However, Parish Council members continue to insist that a 1985 agreement gives them the power to appoint a representative.

St. Pierre also vetoed the council’s decision to appoint Clulee in October, but the council overrode the veto.

During budget hearings, the Parish Council set aside $50,000 to use towards litigation expenses in the ongoing lawsuit between the parish and Landrieu. On Nov. 5, the council added $50,000 to the litigation pot.

St. Pierre spoke out against the move, saying that the parish’s current legal counsel, Leon "Sunny" Vial, makes that amount of money for a year of service while the council will pay Destrehan lawyer Timothy Marcel $100,000 to deal with only one lawsuit.

St. Pierre also said that the parish has never spent that much money on attorney fees on any previous lawsuits in the parish’s history.

Councilman Dennis Nuss said that the lawsuit between the parish and Landrieu is one of the most important cases that the parish has dealt with in years. He added that the full $100,000 may not need to be spent.

"My only comment is that this is very important litigation to St. Charles Parish and must be handled in the best way possible," Nuss said.

The council will decide whether or not to override St. Pierre’s veto during their meeting on Monday, Dec. 3.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the St. Charles Parish Courthouse.