No experience needed.
Last week 14 police jurors could not decide who they want to be president of the 2012 police jury.
Jurors Nathan Granger and Dane Hebert threw their name into the hat to be president, but 14 jurors could not decide who they wanted. After one vote, it was tied 7-7.
So what is next?
Well, Police Jury attorney Paul Moresi III informed the jury what its options are. Simple, they have to vote again at the next meeting on Jan. 23.
The last time there was a tie for a police jury president election was only four years ago. The tie was between Nathan Granger and Wayne Touchet. Well, instead of voting again or pulling straws, jurors (10 of them brand new) came up with the idea of electing a rookie police juror as president of the police jury. Thus, Gerald Butaud, who had only been to a handful of police jury meetings during his campaign, was thrown into the jury president seat.
A majority of the jurors felt it was OK to put a rookie into an important seat.
I bet Butaud was the first rookie parish police juror to become president. He was president for two years.
In the old days (before 2000) it was not uncommon for one juror to be president three and four years straight. Today, a new president is selected every two years.
The police jury president becomes a powerful person when a state of emergency is declared for a hurricane or in the event of a storm surge or any catastrophe.
So, to make a freshman juror as president is risky. For the first few months as president, Butaud had to learn the ends and outs of police jury business.
Now the police jury finds itself with another tie and once again, there is talk about one of the four freshmen jurors as being the new police jury president.
My question is, why?
Experience is needed not “on-the-job” training.
There are 10 jurors who have at least four years of jury experience and have a clue what is happening in the parish with saltwater intrusion, hurricane protection, FEMA and everyday operations of the police jury.
Of the 10, Mark Poché, who has already been president, is beginning his fourth term as a police juror. Wayne Touchet, president the last two years, and Ron Darby, who has never been president, are on their third term as a police juror. These guys have a combined 28 years of police jury experience.
Granger and Hebert begin their second term as jurors, which is four more years than a rookie police juror.
“A police jury president needs to be able to lead. He has to know what is going on in the parish now,” said Touchet.
In my opinion, this new police jury needs to “man-up” and elect an experienced police juror as president and not take the easy way out by putting a rookie in the seat.