Who is Ascension’s next Council Chairperson?

2017: Chairman Bill Dawson and Vice Chairman Oliver Joseph (both of whom represent Ascension’s west bank) served a second stint in 2018.

Bill Dawson’s reign as Parish Council Chairman is coming to an end after two years of turbulence, more than a little intra-council rancor, much of it attributable to Dawson, himself.  His tenure in the chair coincided with an indictment of President Kenny Matassa followed by Dawson’s failed attempt to abolish the presidency in exchange for a parish manager.  The chairman has been telling anyone who will listen that he wants out of that hot seat which begs the question:

Who is Ascension’s next Council Chairperson?

Ordinance 2-94 (a) states:

At the first regular meeting of the newly elected Ascension Parish Council and annually thereafter, a chair and vice chair shall be selected from the parish council members, by majority vote.

Who wants the job (arguably the second most powerful in parish government because the chair controls the Council’s agenda)?

It’s come down to two, Councilwoman Teri Casso versus Councilman Benny Johnson.

The job comes with its share of headaches and its occupant is sure to alienate those council members disagreeable to the course charted for the ship of state.  Heretofore iron-fisted, the chair’s grip on agendas was loosened by a recent ordinance empowering three members to add an item to the agenda.  That came courtesy of Strategic Planning, historically the most impotent standing committee until Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee was seated in its chair three years ago.

Odds are, then chairman, Randy Clouatre regrets appointing the Ole’ Chicken Doctor in January 2016.  That is the Council chair’s other great power, appointment to the Council’s standing committees where the real governing authority work happens.

Strategic Planning pushes back against development (and Matassa administration)

Strategic Planning’s continual pushing of the envelope is a constant source of irritation to certain of Satterlee’s colleagues.  In fact, multiple of those colleagues desired Satterlee’s ouster from Strategic Planning’s top spot so badly they were willing to trade votes in last January’s election for the full council’s chair.

Dempsey Lambert, Randy Clouatre, Todd Lambert, John Cagnolatti, and Benny Johnson failed to add a six vote to their bloc…

and Satterlee’s tenure over Strategic Planning continued right along with Bill Dawson’s chairmanship.

Including four of the Council’s longest serving members (Councilman Oliver Joseph is the other), all the group could add was first-term Councilman John Cagnolatti to “the Todd Lambert for Council Chair caucus.”  The bid to unseat Bill Dawson failed, resulting in a palpable resentment at another year of his (can it be called) leadership in their midst.  Adding to their angst, none other than Doc Satterlee was the penultimate sixth vote securing Dawson’s reelection.

12 months later and the same cast of councilmen has circled the wagons around Benny Johnson.  Is it mere coincidence that all five signed…

In the other corner is Teri Casso whose seven years on the Council has included seven years as the Finance Committee chair.  Casso can bank on three votes…

If the Dawson-coalition from last year holds she has…

in her corner. Which would mean the swing vote is Doc Satterlee, again.

District 4 Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee