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President Peralta Vetoes Ordinance #1654-06-15, to terminate the agreement between the St. Bernard Parish Government and Paratech

President Peralta Vetoes Ordinance #1654-06-15, to terminate the agreement between the St. Bernard Parish Government and Paratech 

and Ordinance #1655-06-15, to amend the 2015 Annual and Capital Operating Budget.

Peralta: Council Members Violated Parish Charter


St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta has issued the following statement regarding the Parish Council's votes to adopt Ordinance #1654-06-15, an ordinance that would terminate the agreement for professional services between St. Bernard Parish Government and Paratech, LLC. and Ordinance #1655-06-15, an ordinance to amend the 2015 St. Bernard Parish Government Annual Operating and Capital Budget.

"In accordance with the Home Rule Charter Sections 2-13 and 3-05(10), I hereby veto ordinances 1654-06-15 & 1655-06-15 (sometimes referred to herein as "the Ordinances"). In my opinion, the ordinances violate our Home Rule Charter and pertinent Louisiana Attorney General Opinions."

 

"I will first address ordinance 1654-06-15. The ordinance, in substance, attempts to improperly usurp the executive's power to contractually bind the Parish. The Home Rule Charter endows my office with the "general executive and administrative authority" of St. Bernard Parish Government. Within this authority is the exclusive right to contractually bind the Parish. It is the executive branch that has the "sole authority to select firms to provide non-legal professional services to the Parish." Commensurate with the right to select firms is the right to terminate agreements. Therefore, any attempt by the Parish Council to terminate a publicly bid contract is outside their realm of authority and is null ab initio."

 

"I will next address Ordinance 1655-06-15. This ordinance also improperly usurps the executive's power to contractually bind the Parish. Ordinance 1655-06-15, in substance, eviscerates the Information Technology Office ("IT") budget. It eliminates encumbered funds, necessary to pay for services provided under the contract that was lawfully signed. Our IT department is critical to the operations of government. IT provides excellent services not only to SBPG's facilities but also assists the courthouse and the sheriff's office. With such a breadth of responsibilities it is imperative to keep IT properly funded and able to function. It should be noted that during the budgeting process last year my administration submitted a request for funding of IT. The budget was then approved and put into law by the Council. The Council is now attempting to overturn its own decision to fund IT. This significant defunding endangers not only our IT services but puts our electronically stored data at risk. I believe that the Council's adoption of the Ordinances violates the St. Bernard Parish Home Rule Charter and state law. As Parish President, it is my duty to uphold the Charter and the laws of this state. A part of this responsibility is to strike down any law that unlawfully curtails the duties or authority of my office. Therefore, I must also veto ordinance 1655-06-15 to protect the executive authority of the office of the Parish President."  "In conclusion, I would urge the council to sustain my vetoes."

 
PTEC Graduates Supported by St. Bernard Parish's Community Development Block Grant

PTEC Graduates Supported by St. Bernard Parish's Community Development Block Grant  

Twenty-seven Students Earn Technical Competency Areas or Associate of Applied Science Degrees

 

Twenty-seven students who were supported by grant-funding from St. Bernard Parish completed either a Technical Competency Area credential or an Associate of Applied Science degree from Nunez Community College in Industrial Technology (PTEC) in May 2015. These 27 students were supported financially by St. Bernard Parish's Community Development Block Grant, and were enrolled in either the traditional or Fast Track PTEC programs. Process Technology is a high-wage, high-skill, and in-demand profession with beginning salaries of $50,000 to $70,000 annually. PTEC positions involve working in manufacturing or processing facilities, and many positions are available locally.

 

For many students in the PTEC Fast Track program who are career-changers, enrolling at Nunez as a full-time student meant that they had to leave their jobs in other fields to make this commitment to their education. The grant support the students received allowed them to concentrate on their studies while receiving financial support; creating new opportunity for students like Aaron Williams. Previously employed as a marine electrician at a local shipyard, Williams decided to enter the PTEC program at Nunez in order to gain job security. "The reason I got into this program in January was because of the opportunity. It's rare these days to be able to get into a job that you can have for more than five years, so the chance to get training for a career that I could have for 15 to 25 years, that's the kind of opportunity I was looking for," he said. Williams graduated with honors in May.

 

This investment by St. Bernard Parish in students at Nunez Community College supports the College's mission of serving the local area and preparing students to meaningful careers in high-demand fields. Nunez Community College is a comprehensive community college offering more than 17 academic programs, including specialized training and continuing education courses; and has recently been named one of the fastest growing community colleges in the nation by the Community College Times. More information is available online at www.nunez.edu.

nunez ptec graduates

 
VAL RIESS PARK TRAIL WINS NATIONAL AWARD

VAL RIESS PARK TRAIL WINS NATIONAL AWARD  


Val Riess Park Multi-Use Path was recently named by the American Trails' Coalition for Recreational Trails to receive the Tom Petri Annual Achievement Award in recognition of its outstanding use of trail funding.

As one of eight projects throughout the country receiving awards, the Val Riess Park Multi-Use Path was honored in the Community Linkage category for the milestone it represents to the community of St. Bernard as the parish turns from recovery to focus on projects to improve the quality of life for residents.

The award was presented at a ceremony and reception on Capitol Hill. Receiving the award on behalf of the parish was St. Bernard Parish Chief Administrative Officer, Michael Gorbaty. Also attending the ceremony were Susan Klees, local bicycle advocate representing Bike St. Bernard, and Deborah Jan Fagan, Grants Coordinator Consultant to St. Bernard Parish.

"Everyone in St. Bernard Parish should be proud of this prestigious honor because of what it signifies," said Parish President, David Peralta, "But it is only one of many projects the Administration and local advocates have been working on to move this parish forward." Susan Klees added, "There are many, many people, both in the Administration and throughout the community, who are responsible for the successful completion of this project. The Parish staff, engineers, and contractors worked very hard to ensure the project was completed before some of our funding expired, and the path truly is an asset to our parish."

The 0.9 mile lighted trail for pedestrians and bicycles was funded by the Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Land and Water Conservation Fund Program administered by the Louisiana Office of State Parks, the Murphy Oil Cy Pres Committee, and St. Bernard Parish Government. More on the project can be found on the American Trails website at http://www.americantrails.org/awards/CRT15awards/index.html.

 

Photo Caption:

Pictured at the Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., are (left to right) Derrick Crandall, President, American Recreation Federation; Michael Gorbaty, St. Bernard Parish Chief Administrative Officer; Susan Klees, Bike St. Bernard; Deborah Jan Fagan, Grants Coordinator Consultant to St. Bernard Parish; and Marianne Fowler, Senior Strategist for Policy Advocacy at Rails to Trail Conservancy.

 

val riess trail award

 
St. Bernard Parish Officials Celebrate the Central Wetlands Unit and Forty Arpent Canal Access and Enhancement Project

St. Bernard Parish Officials Celebrate the Central Wetlands Unit and Forty Arpent Canal Access and Enhancement Project  

8265 Benjamin Street in Chalmette (Corner of Norwood and Benjamin)

In collaboration with St. Bernard Parish Government offices of Tourism, Public Works, and Recovery, the Central Wetlands Unit and Forty Arpent Canal Access and Enhancement Project was designed by Principal Engineering and constructed by Cobalt Construction. This project was funded by a $1,025,000.00 Louisiana Tourism Recovery Program (LTRP) grant, supplemented by $500,000.00 in additional local funds. The cost for design and construction is estimated at $1,525,000.00.

On hand for the Ribbon Cutting were Parish President David Peralta, Meraux Foundation Board Members Bill Haines, Floyd and Rita Gue, Chamber Member Fred Sigur, Tourist Commission President Wanda Alcon and Tourism Coordinator Katie Tomasseo.

The purpose of this project is to generate ecotourism and recreational opportunities. It will increase awareness that St. Bernard Parish is a fun outdoor destination with an abundance of safe seafood, water and nature based activities to be enjoyed by the entire family. It will also promote St. Bernard Parish as a unique and authentic coastal Louisiana destination and assist in elevating the positive images of our state and parish from a visitor perspective.

The project included the construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Forty Arpent Canal, thereby providing public access to the northern banks of the Canal and the Central Wetlands Unit. Additionally, an 1800 SF boathouse was constructed on the southern banks, where bait, kayaks, paddleboats, and other boating equipment will be available for rent. This also included office space and public restrooms. A 6 ft. deep lagoon that ties in to the Forty Arpent was also constructed. The facility is accompanied by an access road from Benjamin Street that includes a 25 parking space lot for visitors.

This project is a possible anchor for future development and funding. The Audubon Institute has expressed interest in expanding this project into two more phases that could value $40 million. The completion of this project will hopefully show a commitment by St. Bernard Parish in this master plan.

Photos by Lenor Duplessis. To view more photos visit www.facebook.com/StBGov

#SBKatrina10, #Enjoy St. Bernard

 

boathouse

 
HURRICANE SEASON IS APPROACHING – HAVE A PERSONAL PLAN

HURRICANE SEASON IS APPROACHING – HAVE A PERSONAL PLAN  

Joint Press Conference was held Monday, June 1st at 10:00 am

With the start of Hurricane Season just two weeks away Parish President David Peralta is urging residents have a personal plan. Hurricane Season runs from June 1st thru November 30th and the parish has no shelter of last resort so residents should identify a safe place to go in the event of a storm. Here are a few tips to follow:

Personal Readiness

• Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.

• Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris to prevent drains from breaking during heavy rains and water flooding into your home.

• Extend and re-direct the downspouts close to your home to move the water away.

• If storms are forecast, secure lawn furniture and other objects that could be moved by strong winds.

• Put together an emergency kit with a flashlight, batteries, radio, first aid supplies, basic tools, and extra car keys.

• Take Inventory of your valuables, including approximate value and date purchased. Pictures or videos are great. Go to http://www.getagameplan.org/ for more formation.

• Take photos and important documents with you such as mortgage and insurance papers.

• Add your insurance company's claims number to contacts on your cell phone.

• Read and understand your homeowner and auto insurance policies, especially your deductibles. Talk to an agent to make sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage to protect what matters most to you.

Residents who need assistance with evacuating should contact the Office of Homeland Security at (504) 278-4268.

A press conference was held Monday, June 1st at 10:00 a.m. at the Port of New Orleans. Homeland Security Director John Rahaim and presidents from Jefferson, St. Charles and Plaquemines, as well as Mayor Landrieu and other state agencies participated in the press conference.


 
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