UPDATE: Council restores mayor retirement pay, 3-2

Zuckerman links 2019 mayor pay cut to positioning for then-upcoming mayor’s race

Read transcript from council debate

Other results from tonight’s meeting

Editor’s Note: A correction was made to this story on October 23rd. Mandeville Daily had incorrectly attributed authorship of Ordinance 19-33 to then-Councilman at Large Clay Madden. He supported the ordinance and voted in favor, but did not officially author it. Read the full correction here. Additionally, Councilman Skelly Kreller was factually incorrect when he stated Clay Madden was the Council Chairman when Ordinance 19-33 was introduced and adopted. Madden supported and voted in favor of 19-33. However, Madden was in fact the council chairman when Ordinance 19-11 was introduced and adopted. Ordinance 19-11 was the council’s first attempt to lower future mayors’ salary, which resulted in a lawsuit from sitting mayor Donald Villere, to which the council repealed 19-11 with Ordinance 19-27 after setting a public referendum to amend the charter.

Updated October 17, 2021, at 9:22AM – Adds quotes, context and transcript.

MANDEVILLE — The City Council voted (October 14th) to have the taxpayers fund the mayor’s contribution to the state retirement system as it does all other full-time employees, fixing a technical error in a 2019 ordinance which lowered the mayor’s salary and cut benefits.

Again, debate focused on whether the city should be paying retirement for the mayor and other employees, but this time, questions were raised about the motivation behind the 2019 ordinance which slashed the chief executive’s pay and benefits.

So I don’t think the decision they originally made with regard to that was appropriate. I don’t think the timing of it was appropriate… Look… the mayor voted for it… and as much as I’d like to make somebody live with the decisions and a position they took on something, I’m separating the person from the issue and I just feel strongly it needs to be changed. That’s why I have the position I do.

— Councilman at Large Jason Zuckerman

Ordinance 21-39 had been deferred from the September 23rd meeting after debate dragged out almost an hour and the council seemed deadlocked. While discussion tonight was cantankerous at times, the council disposed of the issue in half the time it spent at the last meeting.

The ordinance corrects wording in city code and puts the mayor in the same category as all other full-time city employees with the taxpayers paying their contributions to the state retirement system.

According to state law, the office of mayor is a full-time employee and hence is required to participate in the Municipal Employee Retirement System (MERS). Some cities pay their employees’ contributions, other cities do not. Mandeville is a city that does.

But on November 21, 2019, the previous council voted to cut the mayor’s salary from $114,475 to $94,500, not including benefits.

This came on the heals of the passage of a November 16, 2019, public referendum to change the City Charter, allowing the city council to cut a mayor’s pay. Before the referendum, the council could only vote to raise the salary of a mayor.

The problem was, Ordinance 19-33 used flawed legal language, saying the “Mayor may participate” in MERS, which needs to be corrected to read the “Mayor shall participate,” putting it inline with state law.

Mayor Clay Madden served as a council member on the 2019 City Council and he went on record at the September 23rd council meeting to say that the 2019 council did not make a mistake because they were unaware at the time that the mayor is legally considered a full-time employee.

Councilman at Large Jason Zuckerman, District I Councilwoman Rebecca Bush, and District III Councilwoman Jill McGuire voted in favor. They generally agreed that one full-time employee shouldn’t be singled out and not have their benefits paid while all other full-time employees are.

“I don’t see the distinction between the mayor and other full-time employees. By the city charter the mayor is defined as a full-time employee. By state law, which the city attorney’s provided, he’s designated as a full-time employee,” Zuckerman said.

Zuckerman made it clear that he felt the 2019 City Council made a mistake with Ordinance 19-33 and it is the duty of the current council to fix it.

“There’s a lot of discussion that’s gone on about the interpretation of the previous council and what they intended. This council’s here now and this council has the ability to go back and look and see if what they did makes sense or not and use our best judgment and not necessarily just rely on the fact that everything that they did was ‘all-wise’ and ‘all-knowing,’” he added.


RELATED EDITORIAL: OPINION: Previous City Council created ‘nuclear option’ to use against sitting mayor


The 2019 council included two candidates for the 2020 mayor’s race, Lauré Sica and current mayor Madden. Sica and Madden both held at-large seats and were the driving force behind cutting the mayor’s pay and benefits and the public referendum that made it possible. Sica was serving as the council chairperson when 19-33 was adopted, but Madden supported and voted in favor of it.

Zuckerman questioned the motivation behind Ordinance 19-33 and how it related to the approaching 2020 mayor’s race at the time.

“I have a lot of questions about the original ordinance (Ordinance 19-33) itself that was passed and the timeline of its passage, and the fact that it affected people that were running for office (of mayor) at the time, people on the council were running (for mayor). There’s a lot that went around that original ordinance that, you know, I think it’s this council’s duty to look at it and make our best judgment and our best decision.”


Because of the mistake made by Madden and the 2019 City Council, the argument could be made that the mayor ended up making 10% less than he thought he would when he ran for the office.

Councilman at Large Rick Danielson and District II Councilman Skelly Kreller voted against Ordinance 21-39. Kreller said he believed that Madden knew exactly what he was voting for as a council member back in 2019 and intended to limit the total compensation of the mayor moving forward to $94,500. Danielson and Kreller view this ordinance as a 10% pay increase to the mayor.

Kreller — after insisting the mayor is not a full-time employee at previous meetings — acknowledged at the October 14th meeting that the chief executive is actually a full-time employee but that there is nothing wrong with making the mayor pay their retirement contributions.

“The mayor is a full-time employee of Mandeville, but he also is an elected official, so we’re not singling out an employee… We’re not singling him out… and he can be treated differently,” he said.

Kreller cited nearby cities and towns such as New Orleans, Kenner, Covington, Abita Springs and others, comparing their compensation packages and populations against Mandeville in an effort to illustrate that Mandeville is paying is over-compensating its mayor.

At one point, Kreller repeatedly referred to Madden as the council chairman in 2019 during the passage of Ordinance 19-33. However, Madden was not the council chairperson; Sica was.

Danielson said his opposition to 21-39 had nothing to do with the current mayor. He said the previous council was specific that the mayor would be responsible for paying their share if they opted to participate.

“This has nothing to do with the current mayor whatsoever… the job he’s doing or not doing… I think he’s doing a fantastic job… I think the entire city administration, the 98 employees that work for this city, and the five city council members are doing a fantastic job,” Danielson said.


In their own words

Because Mandeville Daily wishes to accurately relate each council member’s exact position on the issue, we have included most of the transcript from the discussion relating to Ordinance 21-39 during the October 14th meeting below:

33:17

McGuire:

“Well since I was the one that deferred it… I should probably… We discussed this during the budget process and during that time I did my — well I thought I did my homework — and I spoke with the former councilmen and spoke with the … finance director and confirmed that … he does have to participate (MERS)… When they, the former council, was doing this they looked, they compared salaries and benefit packages to other municipalities and there was a lot of information that was brought up at the last meeting. A lot of very good points were made. I believe it sparks, I feel, a need to discuss lots of things regarding the employees’ retirement — should the city pay their share.

“So there’s lots of things I believe we need to discuss and address soon, however, I don’t feel this is the time for it. I feel that there’s lots of things, right? We can discuss intent, we discuss what they were thinking (2019 City Council). We can clean it up, what have you. I think it’s… I went around the world and I came back to where I was in the beginning, and it is, the mayor is a legal — according to the legal definition — a full-time employee as well as it also states that in the charter, and the city pays for — whether we agree with it or not, and we can discuss that later — we pay for every other employee’s share of retirement so therefore I’m in support of the mayor receiving that same benefit as well.”

35:50

Kreller:

“The mayor is a full-time employee of Mandeville… But he also is an elected official, so we’re not singling out an employee… We’re not singling him out… and he can be treated differently…

“The only thing that really needs to be changed is that word in the first sentence. But the second sentence is very specify… it says that he will pay his percentage of the retirement.

“Businesses do not pay 100% of retirement for their employees. I have mentioned that I was in business for 38 years. I paid my portion and the employees paid their portion. Yes there are exceptions, but not many.

“And this has nothing to do with this council trying to change the police or anything like this in civil service. This has only to do with the mayor. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the salary of the mayor.

“I have not changed my position on this. He is a special case… He is not an ‘employee’ that has to be linked and lumped together with all the other employees of the city.

“I have not changed my position.”

Zuckerman:

“I don’t see the distinction between the mayor and other full time employees. By the city charter the mayor is defined as a full-time employee. By state law, which the city attorney’s provided, he’s designated as a full-time employee.

“There’s a lot of discussion that’s gone on about the interpretation of the previous council and what they intended. This council’s here now and this council has the ability to go back and look and see if what they did makes sense or not and use our best judgment and not necessarily just rely on the fact that everything that they did was ‘all-wise’ and ‘all-knowing.’

“I have a lot of questions about the original ordinance (Ordinance 19-33) itself that was passed and the timeline of its passage, and the fact that it affected people that were running for office (of mayor) at the time, people on the council were running (for mayor). There’s a lot that went around that original ordinance that, you know, I think it’s this council’s duty to look at it and make our best judgment and our best decision.

“I think that all of those things. That Mrs. McGuire brought up and even Dr. Kreller brought up… whether the city ought to be paying 100% of employees’ portions of retirement… all valid questions, and I know he’s got strong opinions about that…

“I look forward to any proposals, Dr. Kreller, that you bring to change that for the city. I think there are some practical issues in implementing it that we’d have to address. I don’t think it has anything to do with this ordinance and I haven’t changed my position on it, so that’s where I stand.”

40:50

Bush:

“I’ve been pretty consistent… I think I’ve been very consistent on this issue. … I like the idea of the city providing a benefit like that to all employees as I want to attract top talent. To work for the city. I think that’s incredibly important for any business and I think it’s incredibly important for the City of Mandeville.”

Zuckerman: “That’s an excellent point. I agree with Mrs. Bush.”

Kreller:

“To follow that up, how many cities, municipalities, around here pay 100% for retirement for the mayor?”

(Asks council clerk, who said she hadn’t researched it except back in 2019 when no other municipalities paid 100%.)

“And I don’t think anything has really changed since then.”

41:57

Danielson:

“This has nothing to do with the current mayor whatsoever… the job he’s doing or not doing… I think he’s doing a fantastic job… i think the entire city administration, the 98 employees that work for this city, and the five city council members are doing a fantastic job. What this has to do with (for) me is Ordinance No. 19-33, which stated two things:

“The mayor’s salary will be set for the full term at $94,500, and the mayor will make the employees’ portion of the contribution. That’s what it is.

“So what I’ve offered in the past, which failed, so I’m not going to offer an amendment tonight, but I want to make it clear for everybody is that that council said the mayor will make that contribution.”

42:44

“What I looked at I said okay, I get it. Year number one, the mayor made the full contribution, 10%. Year two, the city would pay a third, the mayor would pay two thirds. Year three, mayor one third, city two thirds. And at the end, at the fourth year, it’s back to 100%.

“Because what that really goes to is a 10% pay raise, by going from what the mayor was contributing this past year to paying in full is a 10% pay raise. And he is a full-time employee. Totally agree. The rest of our employees that are eligible are getting a 2.5% pay raise. That’s what I looked at.

“That’s why I had offered a third, a third, a third as what I felt to be a fair and equitable correction to an ordinance the previous council made. So I stand by that. I’m not going to make the amendment for it because I know where it’s going to go. But I want to make it very clear on all those points of why I brought up why I did and where I still stand tonight.”

Zuckerman:

“My position on this really has nothing to do … with the current mayor either.

“For me, I’m looking at the original ordinance. I don’t think it’s inappropriate at all for a current council to go in and look at what a previous council did and pass judgment on whether that needs to be changed or not. I think that’s why we’re elected.

“So I don’t think the decision they originally made with regard to that was appropriate. I don’t think the timing of it was appropriate… Look… the mayor voted for it… and as much as I’d like to make somebody live with the decisions and a position they took on something, I’m separating the person from the issue and I just feel strongly it needs to be changed. That’s why I have the position I do.”

44:48

Kreller:

“Also the mayor was the chair of that council and he has mentioned in the past that there might have been a little misunderstanding that maybe he didn’t understand completely and things like this… As the chair and who put up this ordinance 19-33, he should have went (sic) to the city attorneys and talked to them and … got perfectly clear what he was presenting to the council and what the vote was. And remember, the vote was 5-0. But he was the chair, and there’s no excuse.

“I can’t see any excuse that anybody could make… That’s shame on him or shame on whoever was the mayor. It doesn’t make a difference, okay?

“What makes a difference here is, one, he possibly didn’t know he’d be running for mayor then… two, he might have thought he wouldn’t win, but he knew what he was voting on then.

“And as the chair… he should do the research, and I assume he did the research, and hopefully he talked to the attorneys. I mean, we sure talk to the attorneys.”

Editor’s Note: Councilman Skelly Kreller was factually incorrect when he stated Clay Madden was the Council Chairman when Ordinance 19-33 was introduced and adopted. However, Madden supported and voted in favor of 19-33. Madden was in fact the council chairman when Ordinance 19-11 was introduced and adopted. Ordinance 19-11 was the council’s first attempt to lower future mayors’ salary, which resulted in a lawsuit from sitting mayor Donald Villere, to which the council repealed 19-11 with Ordinance 19-27 and set public referendum to amend the charter.

Zuckerman:

“I actually agree with a lot of that, but the point I was trying to make is that I think the mayor was wrong for voting for it, so I’m here to correct it.

“He did vote for it… but I think it was a bad vote. I think he made a mistake, and I’m voting to change it.”

47:04

Danielson:

“I agree with Mr. Zuckerman on the fact that we have a right to change previous ordinance whatever it might be, and that’s very important and it’s good government that we go and we do some of those things. That’s why I kind of felt that mine was a compromise… that kind of met in the middle on both sides of that thing.

“But I also find it interesting from a financial aspect is that the benefit to the mayor’s compensation on the retirement contribution is about $37,000 a year for a cit of 12,500 people, and when you compare that to the city of New Orleans, if I’m not mistaken, the contribution for the mayor of New Orleans which is almost 250,000, is $35,000… it’s just interesting to me… Is there a bigger question here on what we need to possibly be looking at down the road.”

McGuire:

“Yes.”

47:57

Zuckerman:

“I hear the comparison about size of the city in terms of population all the time and we compare Mandeville to other cities by population and I just got to question whether or not that’s the most appropriate comparison to make.

“I mean, do you take everything that we do in direct proportion to the city of New Orleans? Are there other metrics that we ought to look at cities that we should compare to? Is it quality of life? Should we be looking at cities with a similar quality of life?

“Certainly New Orleans or Hammond or Slidell may not necessarily have the quality the City of Mandeville does. But we’re going to benchmark what we do against those because of population. That doesn’t make sense to me. Should it be the average tax base, what the average citizen pays in revenue, the average number of employees that a municipality has that the mayor has to manage? So … I personally don’t buy into we need to compare to another municipality just based off population. That correlation… I haven’t been able to make that connection yet.”

48:56

Kreller:

“What about not just comparing to New Orleans but let’s compare to Kenner, Slidell, Hammond, Covington and Abita. He (mayor) ranks the highest on all of those cities and municipalities. And so, some of those are definitely compared (sic) to us. “


Other business from meeting

In other business at tonight’s meeting:

MINUTES:
  1. Adoption of the September 23, 2021, Regular Meeting Minutes
REPORTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

To consider and take action with respect to adopting a resolution confirming an election date change pursuant to Executive Order of the Governor; establishing a new date to canvass the returns of the election; and providing for other matters in connection therewith.

PRESENTATION:

Ms. Suzanne Krieger, chairperson of the St. Tammany Levee Drainage and Conservation District, will discuss the proposed Constitutional Amendment # 3 – funding for the Levee District.

OLD BUSINESS:
  1. Adoption of Ordinance No. 21-23: An ordinance amending the official zoning map of the City of Mandeville to rezone the south one half of square seventy-four (74) of the City of Mandeville, st. Tammany parish, state of Louisiana, from pm-2 marina district – non-waterfront lots, to o, open space/recreation; and providing for further matters in connection therewith (COUNCILWOMAN MCGUIRE, DISTRICT III)

Adopted 5-0: Danielson: Yes; McGuire: Yes; Bush: Yes; Kreller: Yes; Zuckerman: Yes

  1. Adoption of Ordinance No. 21-24: An ordinance amending the official zoning map of the City of Mandeville to rezone double square 33, lot 2 of the City of Mandeville, st. Tammany parish, state of Louisiana, from R-3 multi-family residential district, to O, open space/recreation; and providing for further matters in connection therewith (Councilwoman McGuire, District III)

Adopted 5-0: Danielson: Yes; McGuire: Yes; Bush: Yes; Kreller: Yes; Zuckerman: Yes

  1. Adoption of Ordinance No. 21-39: An ordinance of the council of the City of Mandeville amending Section 2-8 of chapter 2 of the City of Mandeville Code of Ordinances and providing for other matters in connection therewith. (Councilman Zuckerman, At-Large)

Adopted 3-2: Danielson: No; McGuire: Yes; Bush: Yes; Kreller: No; Zuckerman: Yes

NEW BUSINESS:
  1. Establish Council meeting dates for the months of November and December

    November 18, 2021 and December 16, 2021 (only one meeting each month due to holidays)

All in favor.

  1. Approval of the special event and liquor application for the Walk a Mile Mandeville 2021 on Saturday, October 30, 2021 from 4-8pm, no rain date. Event location will be from the Mandeville harbor to the Mandeville Trailhead. (Councilwoman McGuire, District III)

All in favor.

  1. Approval of Change Order #1, Trailhead Splash Park Rehabilitation A/E Project No. 2101A06; formerly No. 2001A02 for an increase in contract time by 30 days for a total contract time of 150 days. No Change in dollar amount. (Councilwoman McGuire, District III)

All in favor.

  1. Approval of NTE amount for Hurricane Ida debris removal project pursuant to the Emergency Debris Removal Contract from $1 million to a NTE $5 million (Councilman Zuckerman, At-Large).

All in favor.

  1. Approval of NTE amount for Hurricane Ida debris monitoring project pursuant to the Emergency Debris Monitoring Contract from $250,000 to $850,000 (Councilman Zuckerman, At-Large).

All in favor.

  1. Adoption of Resolution No. 21-44: A Resolution confirming an election date change pursuant to Executive Order of the Governor; establishing a new date to canvass the returns of the election; and providing for other matters in connection therewith. (Councilman Zuckerman, At-Large)

All in favor.

  1. Adoption of Resolution No. 21-45: A resolution of the Mandeville city council endorsing the application of Susan Danielson (551 Carroll Street, Mandeville, Louisiana) for participation in the restoration tax abatement program project no. 2016-1452-RTA(Councilman Zuckerman, At-Large)

All in favor.

  1. Adoption of Resolution No. 21-46: A resolution of the city council of the City of Mandeville accepting the bids for the Monroe at East Causeway intersection & traffic signal improvements project A/E Project No. 20-1956 and authorizing the mayor to execute a contract with the lowest apparent bid Kort’s Construction Services Inc. And providing for other matters in connection therewith (Councilman Kreller, District II)

Amended to add wording about properly moving and relocating trees.

All in favor.

  1. Adoption of Resolution No. 21-47: A resolution of the city council of the City of Mandeville accepting the recommendation of the audit committee to contract with Postlethwaite & Netterville, for the purpose of conducting a financial audit for the City of Mandeville as of and for the year ending august 31, 2021 and authorizing the mayor to execute an agreement and providing for other matters in connection therewith (Councilman Danielson, At-Large)

All in favor.

  1. Introduction of Ordinance No. 21-28: An ordinance of the city council of the City of Mandeville amending the Code of Ordinances, chapter 11, Section 11-64 urinating in public places prohibited; definition; penalty; and providing for other matters in connection therewith: (Councilman Kreller, District II)

To be voted on October 28, 2021.

All in favor.

  1. Introduction of Ordinance No. 21-29: An ordinance of the city council of the City of Mandeville approving a conditional use permit for accessory outdoor seating within the Jefferson Street right of way (Councilwoman McGuire, District III)

To be voted on October 28, 2021.

All in favor.

  1. Introduction of Ordinance No. 21-30: An ordinance of the city council of the City of Mandeville amending the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 10, to include Section 10-73 as a prohibition of parking or traversing on median strip; definition; penalty; and providing for other matters in connection therewith (Councilman Kreller, District II)

To be voted on October 28, 2021.

All in favor.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for October 28th at 6 p.m.

-30-

OPINION: Previous City Council created ‘nuclear option’ to use against sitting mayor

2019 public referendum allows City Council to cut re-elected mayor’s pay

Could be used to force mayor into submission or block future opponent

Previous mayor sounded alarm, no one seemed to care

-Editorial-

Editor’s Note: A correction was made to this editorial on October 23rd. Mandeville Daily had incorrectly attributed authorship of Ordinance 19-33 to then-Councilman at Large Clay Madden. He supported the ordinance and voted in favor, but did not officially author it. Read the full correction here.

Those are strong words. Incendiary, some might say.

But it’s true. Read the City of Mandeville’s Home Rule Charter and pay careful attention to the changes made with a 2019 public referendum that was forced on voters by the previous City Council so that they could cut the pay of future mayors.

The charter, adopted in 1985, only allowed a council to increase a mayor’s pay, not cut it. That changed in 2019.

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different story as to why the events in 2019 transpired. Some say the council was trying to punish then-mayor Donald Villere. Others will tell you they were trying to contain what they say was a runaway salary for the mayor of a town with a population of just over 12,000. Yet others suggest it had to do with jockeying for position in the upcoming election.

Whatever the real reason is, it happened. And now we’re stuck with it.

Changing the Charter: ’The road to hell is paved with good intentions’

After a months-long battle with then-mayor Donald Villere, the 2019 council finally conceded the Home Rule Charter prevented them from cutting a mayor’s pay, so they changed it… with the help of the voters.

It didn’t occur to anyone else at the time that maybe there was a good reason why the authors of the city charter didn’t give the legislative branch the ability to cut the pay of the executive branch’s current occupant.

It’s worth noting that then-councilman at large Clay Madden was in favor of just cutting the pay and benefits without a charter change. In fact, he and others on the council tried that first, before the 2019 referendum. He told the Times-Picayune in April 2019 that he believed it was permissible under the existing charter:

Excerpt from Times-Picayune article dated April 26, 2019, screen-captured September 30, 2021, from Nola.com.(Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
Excerpt from Times-Picayune article dated April 26, 2019, screen-captured September 30, 2021, from Nola.com.(Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

While the 2019 charter amendment allows the City Council to cut the mayor’s pay to whatever they want, it also says the “salary of the mayor shall not be reduced during the term for which the mayor is elected.”

Therein lies the rub.

There’s nothing preventing the City Council from drastically cutting the salary of a popular first-term mayor whom they don’t like, and having it take effect in his second term, assuming re-election. So in effect, the Mandeville City Council has the authority as of 2019 to cut the pay of the current, sitting mayor.

This change to the charter also sets up a situation where the middle-class could be eliminated entirely from ever running for mayor. Only the poor or the independently wealthy who no longer need to work could afford to run.

Imagine there was an independently wealthy, millionaire City Council member — Jane Doe — whom the other council members really liked and wanted her to run for mayor to replace the current, term-limited mayor.

Now let’s pretend there is a financially responsible, upper-middle class guy — John E. Appleseed — who has a family, a mortgage, car notes, and kids in private school, and he earns about $100,000 a year in his current job. He has great ideas for the city and wants to run for mayor, and his friends and colleagues are urging him to do so.

All the pro-Jane-Doe City Council would need to do is to set the mayor’s salary for the next term to some ridiculously low amount, like $50,000, and Mr. Appleseed wouldn’t be able to run.

This is a real problem we have here. The intention was to prevent someone from “getting rich” as mayor, yet it created a situation where potentially only non-working millionaires could ever become mayor.

Nuclear Option: ‘Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines’

We can call it the Mandeville City Council’s “nuclear option” to force a mayor into submission, or to prevent a possible rival from running in a future race.

Of course, Mandeville Daily is in no way suggesting there is actually a plan afoot to do this. We’re merely making the point that this City Council — and all future city councils — have the authority to do it, thanks to the Home Rule Charter change in 2019.

And we need to let go of this notion that we can’t undo anything the previous city council did, including this pay cut, as if it’s the Roe v. Wade of Mandeville politics.

And what’s more, there have been references made to “the will of the people” to reduce the mayor’s pay, referring to the 2019 public referendum.

The 2019 public referendum did not cut the mayor’s pay. Let’s get that straight once and for all. The referendum merely — by accident or by design — created this nuclear option the council now holds over the mayor.

Irony: ’It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife’

What makes this all the more interesting is the bitter layer of irony heaped on top.

Madden himself was a council member back in 2019 and supported the original ordinance which was to cut the next mayor’s salary in April of that year. Villere vetoed it, but the council came back and overrode the veto to which Villere sued the City Council for violating its own charter. This ultimately led to the public referendum, which changed the charter to authorize the council to reduce the chief executive’s pay.

Immediately after the referendum passed with 70% of the vote, the City Council adopted Ordinance 19-33 which cut the mayor’s salary from $114,475 to $94,500, and it excluded the mayor from having their state retirement contributions paid by the city like all other full-time employees.

Councilman Madden supported the pay cut, the change to the charter, as well as removing the retirement benefits.

Villere was outspoken on the matter, even though the pay cut would not have affected him because he was term-limited to leave office anyway. His remarks to The Times-Picayune in October 2019 confirm it.

Perspective: ‘Time will say nothing but I told you so’

Whether you agreed with Villere’s policies as mayor or not, think he did a good job or not, one thing is clear… He was right about this.

The public’s perception of Villere’s relationship with the City Council in 2019 was a real problem. Let’s face it. We don’t have the press coverage shining the light of day on local government we once did. There’s no more pesky beat reporter who covers everything at City Hall. Read “Mandeville Daily to cover City Council” to understand Mandeville Daily’s perspective on local news coverage in the modern era.

Even today, Nola.com — a.k.a. The Times-Picayune — provides spotty coverage of Mandeville government, usually only when something controversial or bad happens relevant to people outside of Mandeville.

The scuttlebutt in 2019 among friends and on social media was that Villere and the council were always fighting. Accurate or not, whether you blame Villere or blame the council, that was the perception that was floating around.

Because most people don’t bother attending City Council meetings or even watching them on Facebook, and there are no local beat reporters churning out multiple stories a week on every aspect of local government, the citizens only know what they hear from friends.

So to the casual observer, a fight over the mayor’s salary, where lawsuits were filed and lines drawn in the sand, naturally made Villere look like he was fighting to keep his salary from being cut.

He was not.

Mandeville v. Covington: ‘Separate but equal’

One of the arguments that then-councilwoman at large and eventual unsuccessful mayoral candidate Lauré Sica used to justify the pay cut was that it would put Mandeville in-line with Covington. The inference was this comparison was based on population — according to reporting by The Times-Picayune in April 2019 which attributed the remarks to Sica — and hence Mandeville’s mayor should be paid about the same as the Covington mayor which was $90,700.

Excerpt from Times-Picayune article dated April 26, 2019, screen-captured September 30, 2021, from Nola.com.(Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
Excerpt from Times-Picayune article dated April 26, 2019, screen-captured September 30, 2021, from Nola.com.(Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

The only problem was, the numbers didn’t add up. But again, no one except Villere seemed to notice.

Mandeville’s population was 12,475 in 2019 and Covington’s was 10,564, according to the United States Census Bureau. In who’s world is that “similar?”

According to a recently discovered, newfangled witch’s device called the calculator, that’s an 18% difference. Would you consider a 5-foot-tall person “similar” in height to a 6-foot-tall person? No woman on Tinder would, that’s for sure.

By this reasoning, the mayor of Mandeville’s salary should have been cut to about $107,000, not $94,500. It’s simple algebra.

And who determined that Covington should be the gold standard anyway? Suppose their mayor is underpaid? Suppose they’re overpaid? What does that have to do with Mandeville?

And should population really be the determiner for how much a mayor is compensated? Doesn’t a full-time mayor still work 40 hours a week whether he is the leader of 12,000 or 120,000?

Why shouldn’t we use the wealth of the city to determine the mayor’s pay? If you think of a city as a family, can’t rich families afford nicer stuff, like fancier cars, better clothes, better food, and, yes, bigger allowances for their children?

Doesn’t Mandeville have nicer streets, better parks, better everything? Why else do people come here from all over the region every Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the lakefront and shop and dine down here?

Why do people move here just to get into the famed “Mandeville school district?”

Who says we can’t pay our mayor, councilmen and employees more, and shower all Mandeville workers with nicer perks and benefits, like taxpayer-funded retirement contributions?

If you consider per capita income for Mandeville versus Covington in 2019, it’s night and day, with Mandeville at $45,465 and Covington at only at $32,455. Mandeville’s median owner-occupied housing value was $288,000 while Covington’s was only $232,900.

Looking at these numbers — if you still insist on using Covington as the benchmark — then the Mandeville chief executive should fall somewhere in the range of $104,000 to $127,000. Remember, Villere was at $114,475 before the charter change.

So the arguments used back in 2019 really didn’t hold water then and they don’t pan out today either. But the greater travesty of justice wasn’t the pay cut itself, it was the public referendum.

About-face: ’It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds’

We may have already witnessed the beginning of the end.

At the September 23rd City Council meeting, two council members were adamant they would not support Ordinance 21-39 which would have restored taxpayer funding of the mayor’s retirement contributions plus correct legal language in city code created by — you guessed it — Ordinance 19-33, the instrument that Madden and the 2019 City Council used to cut the mayor’s pay and strip away retirement benefits that Madden wants restored.

Councilman at Large Rick Danielson, with support from District II Councilman Skelly Kreller, attempted two unsuccessful amendments to 21-39 to prevent the mayor from returning to 100% funding on his retirement contributions. But then at the last minute and before a final vote on passage, they managed to sway District III Councilwoman Jill McGuire to help them get the vote deferred to a future meeting.

And who would benefit if this council restores the mayor’s state retirement contributions? None other than Clay Madden, the same City Council member who in 2019 voted to end those benefits.

Madden insisted at the last meeting that the 2019 City Council didn’t make a mistake with Ordinance 19-33.

He said the 2019 council was simply unaware that the mayor is legally considered a full-time employee, and required to participate in the retirement system. Ordinance 19-33 said the mayor “may participate” but if he or she does so, they would be responsible for paying their own contributions into the system, not the city.

Nowhere — at least for me — was it said that the former council made a mistake. That was never said. What happened was … there was a piece of information that was not known at the time of the vote. It was not known at the time by me, or any of the other former councilmen, that the mayor had to participate. That was information we got when I became mayor.

— Mayor Clay Madden, September 23, 2021

Madden apparently didn’t intend to contribute to the state retirement system if elected mayor, so once he took office and the state told him the contributions were required by law, this in effect became a pay cut.

Fair enough.

But as long as we’re being fair, let’s be honest too. Those on the 2019 City Council did most undeniably make a mistake, including Madden. Just because they were unaware of the law doesn’t let them off the hook. As the old saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Mandeville Daily holds the position that all full-time employees at the City of Mandeville should have the same benefits. This council should vote to restore this benefit out of fairness to the office of mayor.

Conclusion: ‘The chickens are coming home to roost’

The real problem remains the 2019 referendum and how it amended the charter.

The 2019 council and Madden were shortsighted, or hasty at the very least, in crafting the wording. It opened Pandora’s box, and now we’re faced with the very real possibility that a city council may cut the pay of a sitting mayor, even if it doesn’t take effect until his next term.

Madden could become a victim of his own actions from 2019.

Do you think they wouldn’t do it? Think again.

Madden’s been butting heads with the current council on a number of issues since he took office as mayor. Kreller and Danielson are both embroiled in the aforementioned retirement contribution battle with the mayor.

Danielson and others on the council were perturbed at an August meeting when it was revealed that Madden had given his executive assistant a $10,000 raise without telling the council.

Months before that, Madden had pushed contracts before the council after having sent notice-of-award letters to contractors to work on flood protection projects before a much-touted public flood summit had been scheduled, seemingly putting the proverbial cart before the horse. This drew harsh reactions from several on the council.

Barring some crazy, unforeseen revelation, none of these things were illegal or even unethical.

They may have been unpopular with the council, but for all we know, the voters may have liked them, or perhaps not. Maybe Madden will overwhelmingly be re-elected in three years, or maybe he’ll go down in flames. Who knows.

Madden’s had his share of successes. Even his critics gave him credit for his performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Morale is reportedly up at City Hall. His pick of Todd Schliem as the new police chief was roundly praised. He’s a great public face for the city and highly visible, which is part of the role of a mayor. Has he had missteps? Sure… or maybe. Again, it’s up to the voters to decide.

Consider what could happen next.

Let’s assume Ordinance 21-39 is adopted at the next council meeting, restoring the mayor’s 10% retirement contribution. What if in response Kreller or Danielson introduce an ordinance that would cut the mayor’s salary to $85,909 next term, which would be the equivalent of backing out the 10% retirement contribution so that the mayor still ends up with only $94,500 in total compensation? All they would need is three votes.

And then what would happen if Madden angers the council again, and they decide Mandeville is better off without him and pass an ordinance to cut his pay even more drastically, should he be re-elected?

It’s all hypothetical at the moment. But it’s a slippery slope.

The mayor should be held accountable for his policies and actions, but only at the ballot box, not through some unintended consequence of a badly worded charter amendment.

Any move to reduce the mayor’s pay at this point would seem petty and set a dangerous precedent, one that wouldn’t have been possible just two years ago.

Until this is fixed by another amendment to the charter, the office of mayor shall live under the threat of this nuclear option, reducing him or her to little more than a figurehead.

Mandeville Daily holds the position that the 2019 public referendum to allow the City Council to reduce a mayor’s pay was a mistake with many unintended consequences as detailed in this piece.

The change to the charter created by the referendum should be reversed, returning the section on the mayor’s compensation to its pre-2019 state. If reducing the chief executive’s pay should ever become such an emergency in the future, the City Council would still have the authority — as they always have — to ask the public to reduce the pay, each and every time they should ever want to do so.

But the City Council itself should not have the authority to do it directly. The 2019 charter change has created a powerful political gadget for seated council members to punish mayors or block competitors from running… it gave them a nuclear option.

It would appear the 2019 City Council’s chickens are coming home to roost.


Email Mandeville Daily

Updated 10/2/2021 at 8:25AM: Expands on why change to charter was bad and other problems it creates. Adds Mandeville Daily’s position.

Updated 10/1/2021 at 7:30AM: Clarifies remarks on Madden’s performance as mayor and his connection to referendum.

Updated 10/1/2021 at 4:42AM: Removes “and benefits” from first paragraph. The City Council has always been able to adjust the benefits of a mayor. Adds quote from Madden. Adds more references to 2019 referendum.

References:

”Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.”
—General “Buck” Turgidson, “Dr. Strangelove”

”Time will say nothing but I told you so,”
— W. H. Auden, “If I Could Tell You”

“It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.”
— Alanis Morrissette, “Irony”

“It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.”
— Doc Holliday, “Tombstone”

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28 Days Later: Photo survey of Ida Recovery

Before and after pix of Mandeville’s Hurricane Ida recovery progress

Photographer Eric McVicker contributes

Updated September 27, 2021 at 5AM

Today (September 27th) marks 28 days later. It has been 28 days since Mandeville woke up to unprecedented damage from a hurricane named Ida.

Hurricane Ida plowed through Mandeville on the evening of August 29th, 2021, damaging homes, businesses and parks with 100-mile-an-hour-plus winds and a devastating storm surge estimated at 7.6 feet. It toppled trees and utility poles on nearly every block south of Florida Street, effectively cutting off Old Mandeville from the rest of the world.

AT&T cell service was down for over 24 hours in the heart of Mandeville and unreliable for another day after that. Locals were seeking out friends who had different mobile carriers to make calls or posts to social media to let loved ones know they were OK.

On the morning of August 30th, Mandevillians found themselves climbing over trees and ducking downed utility poles just to check on neighbors only a block or two away. The recovery had begun.

Some had trees in their homes. Others had vehicles or property damaged by the storm. Businesses were flooded that hadn’t taken on water since — well — Hurricane Katrina.

The breadth of damage was disheartening to say the least.

But amazingly, the recovery and cleanup seemed to move much faster than anticipated. Perhaps it was because of the many lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, which ironically struck 16 years earlier to the day.

Cleco seemed well prepared. A number of residents had their power restored within days and most homes in Mandeville had lights within a week. Also, internet services were more easily restored compared with Katrina, probably due to advances in technology in the last 16 years, but still, impressive overall.

Mayor Clay Madden provided constant updates via social media as soon as the city regained cellular service. Unfortunately, the City of Mandeville government relied solely on AT&T, which one can only hope that the city’s new disaster response and recovery contractor Richard C. Lambert Consultants has identified as a serious flaw.

Other than the complete communications blackout from the city during the first 24 hours, the mayor regularly posted the exact information he was receiving from utility companies, almost as he was receiving it himself. Madden and other officials seemed aggressive to get debris cleared so that people could get in and out of the area, and more importantly, so that utility crews could begin their work.

Grocery stores opened using generator power within a few days of the storm. After Katrina, that was not the case.

Mandeville bounced back from Ida, and fast.

To illustrate the progress the city has made, Mandeville Daily and local photographer Eric McVicker conducted a photo survey of the damage on August 30th compared to now — 28 days later:

Mandeville Beach facing east

The Mandeville Beach had almost all of its sand washed over and onto Lakeshore Drive to the north. It took more than a week to move the sand back to the beach after having been cleared to a staging area just outside the park. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

August 30th, 2021: The Mandeville Beach had almost all of its sand washed over and onto Lakeshore Drive to the north. It took more than a week to move the sand back to the beach after having been cleared to a staging area just outside the park. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
August 30th, 2021: The Mandeville Beach had almost all of its sand washed over and onto Lakeshore Drive to the north. It took more than a week to move the sand back to the beach after having been cleared to a staging area just outside the park. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Mandeville Beach facing northeast

Within days city crews and contractors were busy moving the sand to a staging area south of Lakeshore Drive to clear the roadway for cars. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

August 30th, 2021: The Mandeville Beach had almost all of its sand washed over and onto Lakeshore Drive to the north. Within days city crews and contractors were busy moving the sand to a staging area south of Lakeshore Drive to clear the roadway for cars.(Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
August 30th, 2021: The Mandeville Beach had almost all of its sand washed over and onto Lakeshore Drive to the north. Within days city crews and contractors were busy moving the sand to a staging area south of Lakeshore Drive to clear the roadway for cars.(Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Coffee Street near Jefferson Street facing north

Two ladies in wading gear making their way down Coffee Street toward Lake Pontchartrain. (Eric McVicker Photography)

August 30th, 2021: Two ladies in wading gear making their way down Coffee Street toward Lake Pontchartrain. (Eric McVicker Photography)
August 30th, 2021: Two ladies in wading gear making their way down Coffee Street toward Lake Pontchartrain. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

Jackson Avenue at Tammany Trace facing north

Looking north down Jackson Avenue standing at the intersection of the Tammany Trace. City work crews can barely be seen here behind this tree as they clear a path through the numerous downed trees blocking one of Old Mandeville’s main access points. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

August 30th, 2021: Looking north down Jackson Avenue standing at the intersection of the Tammany Trace. City work crews can barely be seen here behind this tree as they clear a path through the numerous downed trees blocking one of Old Mandeville's main access points. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
August 30th, 2021: Looking north down Jackson Avenue standing at the intersection of the Tammany Trace. City work crews can barely be seen here behind this tree as they clear a path through the numerous downed trees blocking one of Old Mandeville's main access points. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Carroll Street near Lakeshore Drive facing north

Carroll Street near Lakeshore Drive facing north. The storm surge left its mark. (Eric McVicker Photography)

August 30th, 2021: Carroll Street near Lakeshore Drive facing north. The storm surge left its mark. (Eric McVicker Photography)
August 30th, 2021: Carroll Street near Lakeshore Drive facing north. The storm surge left its mark. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

Madison Street facing south toward Bayou Castine

Madison Street between Jackson Avenue and Atalin Street facing south toward Bayou Castine. Even almost 24 hours after Ida passed through, the water had only receded several inches, and leaves, limbs and debris of all kinds created a ‘carpet’ that obscured the bayou completely. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

August 30th, 2021: Madison Street between Jackson Avenue and Atalin Street facing south toward Bayou Castine. Even almost 24 hours after Ida passed through, the water had only receded several inches, and leaves, limbs and debris of all kinds created a 'carpet' that obscured the bayou completely. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
August 30th, 2021: Madison Street between Jackson Avenue and Atalin Street facing south toward Bayou Castine. Even almost 24 hours after Ida passed through, the water had only receded several inches, and leaves, limbs and debris of all kinds created a 'carpet' that obscured the bayou completely. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Monroe Street at Antibes Street East facing east

Monroe Street at Antibes Street East facing east. Trees and utility poles crisscrossed Monroe Street at multiple points. (Eric McVicker Photography)

August 30th, 2021: Monroe Street at Antibes Street East facing east. Trees and utility poles crisscrossed Monroe Street at multiple points. (Eric McVicker Photography)
August 30th, 2021: Monroe Street at Antibes Street East facing east. Trees and utility poles crisscrossed Monroe Street at multiple points. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

Monroe Street at Coffee Street facing west

Monroe Street at Coffee Street facing west. Trees and utility poles crisscrossed Monroe Street at multiple points. (Eric McVicker Photography)

August 30th, 2021: Monroe Street at Coffee Street facing west. Trees and utility poles crisscrossed Monroe Street at multiple points. (Eric McVicker Photography)
August 30th, 2021: Monroe Street at Coffee Street facing west. Trees and utility poles crisscrossed Monroe Street at multiple points. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

Atalin Street at Livingston Street facing north

Atalin Street at Livingston Street facing north. Much of the Jackson Avenue corridor, including Atalin Street, was a tangled mess of trees and utility poles and their wires. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

August 30th, 2021: Atalin Street at Livingston Street facing north. Much of the Jackson Avenue corridor, including Atalin Street, was a tangled mess of trees and utility poles and their wires. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
August 30th, 2021: Atalin Street at Livingston Street facing north. Much of the Jackson Avenue corridor, including Atalin Street, was a tangled mess of trees and utility poles and their wires. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Carroll Street at Lakeshore Drive facing north

Carroll Street at Lakeshore Drive facing north. The storm surge bent signs over as it pushed inland. (Eric McVicker Photography)

August 30th, 2021: Carroll Street at Lakeshore Drive facing north. The storm surge bent signs over as it pushed inland. (Eric McVicker Photography)
August 30th, 2021: Carroll Street at Lakeshore Drive facing north. The storm surge bent signs over as it pushed inland. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

Coffee Street near Jefferson Street facing south

Coffee Street near Jefferson Street facing south toward the lake. Water was still 2-3 feet high blocks inland almost 24 hours later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

August 30th, 2021: Coffee Street near Jefferson Street facing south toward the lake. Water was still 2-3 feet high blocks inland almost 24 hours later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
August 30th, 2021: Coffee Street near Jefferson Street facing south toward the lake. Water was still 2-3 feet high blocks inland almost 24 hours later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)
28 Days Later. (Eric McVicker Photography)

Tammany Trace near Jackson Avenue facing west

Tammany Trace between Jackson Avenue and Atalin Street looking west. The Trace was barely visible at numerous points. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

August 30th, 2021: Tammany Trace between Jackson Avenue and Atalin Street looking west. The Trace was barely visible at numerous points. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
August 30th, 2021: Tammany Trace between Jackson Avenue and Atalin Street looking west. The Trace was barely visible at numerous points. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
28 Days Later. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Editor’s Note: Mandeville Daily thanks photographer Eric McVicker for his contributions to this piece. His work greatly enhanced Mandeville Daily’s Hurricane Ida coverage.

UPDATE: City Council wrangles over mayor compensation – again, fails to take action

Mayor remains in limbo on who should pay retirement contribution

Updated September 24, 2021, at 10:30AM: Clarifies that the 2019 public referendum did not cut the mayor’s salary, but only changed the City Charter to allow a city council to do so, which they immediately did.

Updated September 24, 2021, at 6:00AM and 9:30AM: Adds comments and context from council members. Clarifies that current code expires with current mayoral term.

MANDEVILLE — After almost an hour of debate, the City Council failed to take action on what seemed like a simple matter to correct wording in city code that would have put the mayor in the same category as all other full-time city employees where the taxpayers foot the bill for their contributions to the state retirement system.

After several failed motions to change the wording of the ordinance, the council could only agree to defer the matter.

According to state law, the office of mayor is a full-time employee and hence is required to participate in the Municipal Employee Retirement System (MERS). Some cities pay their employees’ contributions, other cities do not. Mandeville is a city that does.

But on November 21, 2019, the previous council voted to cut the mayor’s salary from $114,475 to $94,500, not including benefits.

This came on the heals of the passage of a November 16, 2019, public referendum to change the City Charter, allowing the city council to cut a mayor’s pay. Before the referendum, the council could only vote to raise the salary of a mayor.

The problem is, Ordinance 19-33 used flawed legal language, saying the “Mayor may participate” in MERS, which needs to be corrected to read the “Mayor shall participate,” putting it inline with state law.

Mayor Clay Madden served as a council member on that 2019 City Council. Madden went on record at this meeting (September 23, 2021) to say that the council did not make a mistake with the 2019 ordinance because they were unaware at the time that the mayor is legally considered a full-time employee. Former District II Councilman Michael Pulaski, who also served on the 2019 council, appeared at the meeting and echoed the mayor’s sentiment.

“I don’t think we made a mistake. We just were not informed. Maybe that’s a legal problem.” Pulaski said.

Yet the fact remains, Ordinance 19-33 does contain a technical mistake, which is the reason why a new ordinance was proposed in the first place.

The issue for some on the council was that Ordinance 21-39 specifies that the city — or taxpayers — would pay the mayor’s retirement contribution, just like it does for all other full-time employees.

Councilman at Large Jason Zuckerman and Council Members Jill McGuire and Rebecca Bush where ready to put the matter to bed. Zuckerman said he felt the issue of the mayor’s compensation had been thoroughly debated at previous meetings and the council needed to move forward.

Zuckerman, who currently serves as the council chairman, said the council would need to revisit the issue later to craft language that would affect the next mayoral term because the current code only addresses the current mayoral term. Also, Zuckerman, McGuire and Bush had all previously said it would be unfair to single out one full-time employee by not paying their share into the system.

However, Councilman at Large Rick Danielson and District II Council Member Skelly Kreller were against adopting the ordinance as is.

Danielson offered two different motions on the evening.

The first proposed to phase in the taxpayer contribution one-third each year until the mayor is back to 100% taxpayer funded. Kreller was outright against the city paying any of the mayor’s retirement, but went along on this motion. The motion failed 2-3, with only Danielson and Kreller voting in favor.

In responding to a question from McGuire, Danielson said part of the reason he favored phasing in the MERS funding for the mayor was that doing so all at once was the equivalent of about a 10% pay raise for the mayor while other full-time employees were only receiving a 2.5% increase this year.

During budget workshops in recent months as well as the September 9th meeting, Kreller had a number of dustups with Madden over budget-related issues, including a $10,000 raise for Executive Assistant Trilby Lenfant.

Danielson’s second motion on the night would have changed the wording of Ordinance 21-39 to read “the Mayor shall pay the Mayor’s contribution,” not the city. That motion also failed 2-3 along the same lines.

Seeing the council was at an impasse, McGuire offered a motion to defer the matter to the October 14th meeting.

McGuire said, “This meeting has brought up several factors that have come into play. I thought this was just going to be a formality… We’ve hashed this out. We’ve discussed and discussed this… But we debated it from a budget perspective.”

Zuckerman disagreed with that assessment: “I know we debated the merits of it not just from a budget standpoint because I kept bringing up the issue of it not being fair to single out a full-time employee … from a benefits standpoint.”

The motion to defer carried 3-2, with McGuire, Danielson and Kreller in favor.

-30-

Email Mandeville Daily at editor@mandevilledaily.news

Mayor reports only handful remain without power

City Council to vote to lift permit fees for Ida repairs

Ida damaged many more utility poles than Katrina: Entergy

Spectrum ‘quadrupled’ their local workforce: mayor

Curfew lifted by mayor

Sunset Point suffers heavy damage to pier (photos)

Lagging Jackson Avenue corridor restored Sunday night

Many Spectrum, AT&T internet customers up and running, some not so lucky

No boil-water advisory for Mandeville residents

editor@mandevilledaily.news

Updated September 9, 2021, at 8:22AM: Updates the Cleco outage mage updates in last hour.

Updated September 9, 2021, at 7:42AM: Provides latest update.

MANDEVILLE — Mayor Clay Madden is reporting that fewer than 10 homes inside Mandeville city limits are without power while the Cleco outage map — which has been reasonably accurate throughout the Hurricane Ida recovery effort — shows roughly that number still in the dark.

The news is good for Mandeville just 11 days after Category 4 Hurricane Ida decimated portions of the city, leaving all of its citizens in the dark with presumably millions of dollars worth of damage to the immediate area.

Also, the City Council will consider the adoption of emergency Ordinance No. 21-40 to waive all local permit fees associated with residential and commercial building permits associated with Hurricane Ida.

Spectrum and AT&T internet and TV services returned for most in Mandeville as electricity was restored. However, there were a number of pockets of homes who were still offline as of yesterday, although a number of those are now reporting their services have been restored.

Mandevillians were greeted to damage unlike what was witnessed even after Katrina plowed through the area 16 years earlier to the day. According to various reports, more trees were toppled during this storm because the ground was already saturated due to recent rains and flash floods. This made it easier for high winds to overturn trees at the roots, and those trees are what brought down power lines in many cases.

In Old Mandeville, trees or utility poles blocked nearly every street — some at every block — at one point. It took up to 24 hours for locals or first responders to clear access to the area.

A number of Old Mandeville businesses suffered flood damage this time. La Lou, Nuvolari’s, the Grapeful Ape, and others within three blocks of the lake took on water and are effecting repairs.

Popular restaurant Nuvolari's took on several inches. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
Popular restaurant Nuvolari's took on several inches. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

A number of homes in Mandeville suffered significant tree and other storm-related damage. No Ida-related deaths were reported in Mandeville.

According to a graphic released by Entergy, Hurricane Ida damaged over 30,000 utility poles while Katrina took down around 17,000.

It’s going to be a while before all of Mandeville’s attractions are restored to pre-Ida states.

Sunset Point Fishing Pier suffered heavy damage and Madden said it will be closed indefinitely. The Mandeville Beach at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Lakeshore Drive was left in disarray by Ida, having all of its sand washed up on or north of Lakeshore Drive. It is unclear when the attraction will return to normal.

The regularly scheduled City Council meeting is tonight (September 9th) at the Paul Spitzfaden Community Center at 6 p.m. The mayor and other officials are expected to provide updates on the Ida recovery effort.

Mayor Clay Madden’s updates from September 9th:

SPECTRUM UPDATE:

I just got off the phone with a northshore manager at Spectrum. He said they have been working closely with Cleco, and now have trucks out in Mandeville. They have quadrupled their local staff and brought in out of state help. If your internet or cable TV services are currently out, then the best thing you can do is make a service call by calling 1-833-267-6094. They are open 24 hours a day. Please call that number to report your outage. If you have BOTH your internet and cable TV through Spectrum, you only have to make one call to report both. Lastly, he said the more people who call from one area, the quicker the turnaround time, so get your neighbors to call! I will provide an update on this tomorrow. For now, please call in your outages to Spectrum. Thank you!

THURSDAY HURRICANE IDA UPDATE:

Subject: Permit Process for Public

All plumbing, electrical, mechanical and/or structure repairs are required to be permitted and inspected. All Contractors are required to be State Licensed and Registered with the City of Mandeville. If you are unsure if you need a permit, please call the Planning Department at 985-624-3103 or email permits@cityofmandeville.com.

When you submit for a permit, the Building Official will come to do an inspection to confirm the type of inspections needed. We are prioritizing processing permits associated with Ida recovery. The Permit fees are being waived for work performed due to Hurricane Ida.

Mayor Clay Madden’s update from September 8th:

I’m down to below 10 homes in Mandeville city limits without power. I drove to all on my list today and almost all had just gotten power or had linemen in front of their house. If you are still down, text me at 985-630-8578. Thank you!

Editor’s Note: When reporting on outages and restorations, Mandeville Daily often provided updates on areas immediately outside Mandeville city limits because some of those areas are pockets surrounded city limits and residents there often consider themselves “Mandeville” even though they are not officially residents, like Lewisburg and areas north of Florida Street. With that said, the above reference to exactly how many remain without power was strictly considering only those inside Mandeville city limits. Tips and story ideas: editor@mandevilledaily.news.


Updated September 8, 2021, at 8:40AM: Provides latest update; Corrects Katrina anniversary reference;

MANDEVILLE — Perhaps as few as 100 households remain without power in the City of Mandeville today (September 8th) as locals continue to recover and rebuild in the wake of Category 4 Hurricane Ida, which devastated the city on the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Cleco’s outage and storm center pages paint a much rosier picture for Mandeville than just 72 hours ago when large swaths of the city were in the dark one week after Ida made landfall, showing somewhere between 100-150 households without power. The estimated times to restoration (ETRs) for the remaining isolated trouble spots in Mandeville, including a significant patch at the far western edge of the city toward Madisonville, range from today through Saturday (September 11th).

While some residents reported their Spectrum and AT&T internet services were working when the power was restored, others say those services are still down.

The mayor announced yesterday he has lifted the city-wide curfew that had been in place since the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Mayor Clay Madden’s update from September 7th:

TUESDAY IDA MID DAY REPORT:

Curfew is lifted starting now! Curfew is over. There will be no curfew tonight. Mandeville Police will continue to be on double patrol and will focus on areas that are still dark.

Debris removal is beginning today. They are not leaving until everything is picked up. If your curb is already filled up, and you have more debris, say, in the backyard, that is okay. Bring your second round debris to the curb as soon as possible after your first round debris is picked up. They will keep making passes, but please don’t wait around-get your debris to the curb as soon as possible.

Hot meals continue to be served daily at First Baptist Church in Mandeville.

I am working hard on getting the last remaining areas still without power restored. I’ll do an update post later today on this. God Bless!

Updated September 7, 2021, at 8:30AM…

MANDEVILLE — Cleco now estimates power should be restored on or by Friday for the vast majority of the approximately 400 customers still without power in Mandeville, a far cry from just several days ago when most of the city was in the dark in the wake of Category 4 Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Sunday (August 29th) on the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The Cleco outage and storm center pages show a September 10th estimated time to restoration (ETR) for most of those still without power in Mandeville.

The Jackson Avenue corridor, encompassing a significant portion of the eastern end of Old Mandeville, was reenergized Sunday night, after originally having ETRs ranging from September 8th to the 10th.

Cleco was, however, forced to cut power off twice for a few hours at a time in order to allow for excessively damaged blocks to be repaired with new equipment Monday (September 6th).

While some residents reported their Spectrum and AT&T internet services were working when the power was restored, others say those services are still down.

The popular Sunset Point Fishing Pier suffered heavy damage from Ida, according to local resident and photographer Eric McVicker who kayaked out to the attraction’s main pier for photographs. The park remains closed and will be temporarily used as a staging area for a city debris removal contractor, according to a statement by Mayor Clay Madden today. See photos below:

The popular Sunset Point Fishing Pier suffered heavy damage from Ida. (Eric McVicker Photography/Eric McVicker)
The popular Sunset Point Fishing Pier suffered heavy damage from Ida. (Eric McVicker Photography/Eric McVicker)
The popular Sunset Point Fishing Pier suffered heavy damage from Ida. (Eric McVicker Photography/Eric McVicker)
The popular Sunset Point Fishing Pier suffered heavy damage from Ida. (Eric McVicker Photography/Eric McVicker)

Garbage pickup is scheduled to resume tomorrow (September 8th) by Coastal Environmental, according to Madden. Recycling remains temporarily suspended, he added.

Mayor Clay Madden’s update from Cleco for today, September 7th:

TUESDAY MORNING QUICK IDA UPDATE:

I need to assess the areas around Mandeville still without power. I will do an update later today, however, I wanted to quickly update you on two items:

GARBAGE PICKUP: Regular garbage pickup will resume tomorrow morning (Wednesday) in Mandeville by our garbage provider, Coastal Environmental. Pickup is cart only. You can use your recycle cart for garbage and they will pickup up recyclables as garbage in tomorrow’s pickup. Recycling remains temporarily suspended. Moreover, they will NOT pickup up private round garbage cans tomorrow. They usually do, however, the mechanical truck they are using tomorrow cannot grab those-it can only grab the carts.

PARKS and DEBRIS: Neighborwoods and Paul Cordes Park (behind city hall) remain closed for clean up until further notice. SUNSET POINT remains closed until further notice and will be used as a STAGING AREA for our debris removal contractor. Debris removal begins TODAY and will continue until complete. Mandeville Police will be patrolling Sunset Point at all times. Any jokers who think it’s a good idea to sneak into Sunset Point will be arrested and heavily prosecuted. Sunset Point is an OFF LIMITS area until further notice.

Please call or text me with any questions (985-630-8578). I’ll do another power update later. God Bless!

Updated September 5, 2021, at 8:40PM: Adds power restored to Jackson Avenue strip.

MANDEVILLE — The Jackson Avenue corridor — one of last remaining major stretches of homes, spanning both south and north of Florida Street, that had been without power for a week since Hurricane Ida — finally became energized Sunday night (September 5th) after days of confusion and mixed signals over estimated times for restoration (ETRs).

The area had received an ETR of September 8th several days ago, but those who are following the progress of power restorations on Cleco’s website were disheartened this morning to see that the ETR had slipped to September 10th. But it changed yet again in the early afternoon, just before Mayor Clay Madden’s daily power update, to today’s date, September 5th.

Cleco delivered.

Officials have said since the early hours of the recovery effort that power restoration is a fluid situation that changes as more work is completed.


Customers also reported that both Spectrum and AT&T internet were already working when their lights came back on. This is a positive sign for those remaining in the dark as to when they’ll get their high-speed internet restored.

There are still significant pockets of homes without power in both Old Mandeville, Lewisburg and the far western edge of Mandeville city limits. Cleco’s posted ETRs range from September 7th to the 12th for those areas.

Updated September 5th at 3:25PM: Adds mayor and Cleco updates

MANDEVILLE — Power restoration estimates for sections of Old Mandeville still in the dark a week after Hurricane Ida struck received encouraging news today when Cleco updated its storm center and outage pages. Streets that only hours earlier had been estimated to receive power not before September 10th were given a new estimated time to restoration (ETR) of today (September 5th).

Cleco yesterday (September 4th) posted ETRs in Mandeville to show that certain key areas, such as the Jackson Avenue corridor, were set to get energized by last night, but that didn’t happen.

Then this morning, the Cleco outage map suddenly showed the same area with a September 10th ETR.

But with this afternoon’s update, the Jackson Avenue area — with a total of 365 affected households including streets north of Florida Street — should get energized tonight.

Mayor Clay Madden released a statement on social media confirming the Cleco update, saying the key streets “will receive restored power TODAY…”

Developing…

Mayor Clay Madden’s update from Cleco for Sunday, September 5th:

SUNDAY POWER UPDATE:

CLECO just sent out an update that the following Mandeville streets will receive restored power TODAY (Sunday, September 5)-

Mandeville

• Hickory Dr

• Bon Teps Roule

• Rebecca Ln

• Wilkinson St

• Aurora St

• Tanglewood (except Elmwood St)

• Golden Shores (Part)

• Avenue D

• Livingston St

• Avenue C

• Villere St

• Avenue B

• Montgomery

• Avenue A

• Lambert St

• Mariners Island

• Tops’l Condos

• Sandra Dl Mac Dr

• St Croix

• Cayman Ct

• St Jean Deluz Ave

• Mariners Blvd

• Antibes St

• Monroe St (Lambert St to Lafayette St)

• Wilkinson St (Villere St to Lakeshore Dr)

• Lakeshore Dr (West End to Carroll St)

• Massena (South of Monroe St)

• Hermitage on the lake

• Maple St

• America St (Coffee St to Gerard St)

• Carroll St (America St to McNamara St)

• Lafite St (Caroline St to America St)

• Adair St (Monroe St to Hwy 190)

• Reine St

• Albert St

• Prieto St

• Atalin St (Madison south)

• Woodlawn lane

Again, we are down to clusters of homes on

select streets that are still out. Please feel free to let me know and I’ll continue to contact CLECO.

A lot of folks have been asking me about Spectrum. If a tree knocked out your internet line, you will continue to have problems. Make an outage report to spectrum online using your phone if possible. However, in these situations it is common for Spectrum to hold off for a few days to allow for the electric companies to go first. However, I have seen some Spectrum trucks in some areas today.

God Bless!

Updated September 5, 2021, at 7AM: Adds lates info in a rolling update
Updated September 5, 2021, at 12:01PM: Adds no boil-water advisery

MANDEVILLE — After setbacks and letdowns, a significant number of blacked out areas of Mandeville were reenergized yesterday (September 4th), but a long list of other streets and strips that were estimated to have power by last night are still without, according to the latest information posted by Cleco and Mandeville Mayor Clay Madden.

In the last several days, Cleco created a special webpage where it provides a more detailed listing of estimated times to restoration (ETRs) down to the street level. Before Friday, those estimates were only delivered to public officials. Madden has posted those Cleco updates routinely since cell and internet services were restored to the City of Mandeville government and emergency response team after a 24-hour failure of the AT&T cellular network following landfall of Category 4 Hurricane Ida Sunday night.

According to the Cleco “Storm Center” webpage, the power company missed their ETRs for a long list of troublesome streets and strips in Mandeville, including the Jackson Avenue corridor and Monroe Street, targeted for yesterday (September 4th). Other areas including Marigny Trace, Colbert Street, Old Golden Shores and Brookside Drive could be four to 10 more days:

Cleco’s Estimates as of Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021

ETR, Sept. 4:

Dupard St (Coffee to Gerard St), Coffee St (Focher to Dupard), Focher St, Webster St, Lamarque St at Claiborne St, Claibirne St at Gerard St, Madison St at Gerard St, Monroe St at Gerard St, Claiborne St at Lafitte St, Colbert St (north of Hwy 190), Carmel Dr, Greenfielld Dr, Monterey Dr, Kingfisher Dr, Marigny Trace Subdivision, Jackson Ave (Lakeshore to Monroe), Atalin St (Madison to Montgomery), Albert St (Monroe to Villere St), Livingston (Jackson Ave to Colbert St), Bayou Dr, Ridgewood Loop (Part), Live Oak Dr (Part), Sandra Lee Dr (Part), Heavens Dr, Beau Chen, Penns Chapel Park, Lovers Ln (Brookside Dr North), Elmwood Pl, Park Dr (Brookside to Forest Dr), and Forest Dr (West part)

Marigny Trace, 2-4 days

Colbert St., 2-4 days

Old Golden Shores, 4 days

Brookside Dr., 8-10 days

These are the current outage maps as of publication time today at 7 a.m., Sunday, September 5th (outage.cleco.com).

Cleco outage map for western Mandeville as of 7AM Sunday, September 5th, 2021. (Mandeville Daily/Cleco)
Cleco outage map for western Mandeville as of 7AM Sunday, September 5th, 2021. (Mandeville Daily/Cleco)
Cleco outage map for eastern Mandeville as of 7AM Sunday, September 5th, 2021. (Mandeville Daily/Cleco)
Cleco outage map for eastern Mandeville as of 7AM Sunday, September 5th, 2021. (Mandeville Daily/Cleco)

Mandeville Daily will provide updates on this information throughout the day (September 5th).

Work is underway to restore the popular Mandeville Beach at the corner of Lakeshore Drive and Jackson Avenue to its pre-Ida state. Workers have moved all the sand that had been deposited onto and north of Lakeshore Drive to a staging area closer to the beach park.

This City of Mandeville has not issued a boil-water advisory related to Hurricane Ida. Those who pay their water bill to the City of Mandeville do not have to boil their water.

Workers moving the huge amount of sand from the Mandeville Beach which Ida lifted and deposited onto and north of Lakeshore Drive. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
Workers moving the huge amount of sand from the Mandeville Beach which Ida lifted and deposited onto and north of Lakeshore Drive. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

Numerous food, ice and water distribution points have been set up in and around Mandeville, including local churches such as Church of the King and First Baptist Church of Mandeville.

Here are Madden’s updates from Saturday, September 4th:

SATURDAY HURRICANE IDA UPDATE:

Okay folks, here’s the long awaited Saturday post. I was not able to talk to my two local CLECO contacts today as they are working hard in the trenches. However, I spoke to a gentleman at the CLECO main office in Alexandria who worked the Mandeville area during Katrina. I gave him all the questions I had about certain areas and he is going to contact all the substation managers and send me updates piecemeal. So I won’t do one big post later today. Rather, I’ll post as I get updates on certain areas.

First and foremost, the answer to the question “ALL MY NEIGHBORS GOT THEIR POWER BACK ON EXCEPT ME AND THE TWO OTHER HOUSES AROUND ME” needs to be given. Per the CLECO rep I spoke with, this is typically caused by a service wire or fuse going to your house, or a row of three houses, being damaged. What can you do? PLEASE REPORT THIS TO CLECO ASAP!!! HINT: doing this online, rather than calling 1-800-623-6537, may expedite the process. So I would report it online. He told me they want to get these situations addressed ASAP while they are in the area, so please report this to them online ASAP. I’ve gotten this question from Girod St to Claiborne St to Marigny Ave to Monroe St to Heavens Drive. Please report all of these to CLECO!

Based on both feedback from Mandeville city limits residents and the outage map, here are the areas I asked for reports on (in no particular order):

-Heavens Drive/Chateau Village/Cedarwood

-Kleber St/Park Ave/Carondelet St

-Marigny Ave/Carroll St/Coffee St/Girod St/Monroe St

-West Beach area

-The Shadows/Fontainebleau near service road entrance

-Tanglewood

-Hermitage

-Mariners Village

-Parts of New Golden Shores, Old Golden Shores and The Sanctuary

Several subdivisions and areas came on in Mandeville yesterday and last night which is great news. I’m not going to stop until every Mandeville resident is fully restored.

Old Mandeville residents-please know that your particular situation may be a little more difficult to ascertain because of the long roads, both north/south and east/west. Some streets will have power on at some, but not all, of their houses. I’ve asked about every request that has come to me and will do my best to get the information out there. I have no indication that entire Old Mandeville streets are still completely out. All of them have some houses with power.

Again, as I get the info from the CLECO contact, I will post it. Thank you for your ongoing patience.

Thanks to our state GOHSEP office and a company we contracted with out of Texas called FPS recovery, our lift stations that still don’t have power will all have generators or pump trucks and we will be able to maintain service completely. Big thanks to our Public Works Director Keith LaGrange for his leadership here.

QUICK POWER UPDATE:

CLECO is starting to flip switches and more homes are starting to come on in Mandeville right now as we speak. Here is a list CLECO just put out for those who should get power restored today:

Mandeville

• Dupard St (Coffee to Gerard St)

• Coffee St (Focher to Dupard)

• Focher St

• Webster St

• Lamarque St at Claiborne St

• Claibirne St at Gerard St

• Madison St at Gerard St

• Monroe St at Gerard St

• Claiborne St at Lafitte St

• Colbert St (north of Hwy 190)

• Carmel Dr, Greenfielld Dr

• Monterey Dr

• Kingfisher Dr

• Marigny Trace Subdivision

• Jackson Ave (Lakeshore to Monroe)

• Atalin St (Madison to Montgomery)

• Albert St (Monroe to Villere St)

• Livingston (Jackson Ave to Colbert St)

• Bayou Dr

• Ridgewood Loop (Part)

• Live Oak Dr (Part)

• Sandra Lee Dr (Part)

• Heavens Dr

• Beau Chen

• Penns Chapel Park

• Lovers Ln (Brookside Dr North)

• Elmwood Pl

• Park Dr (Brookside to Forest Dr)

• Forest Dr (West part)

I still hope to get reports on those areas I asked about earlier today. Thanks!

Updated September 2, 2021, at 2:22PM: Corrects mayor’s language to ‘highly likely’ on power restorations.

Updated September 2, 2021, at 1:30PM: Adds Thursday update from mayor
Updated September 2, 2021, at 10AM: Adds Spectrum restoration source.
Updated September 2, 2021, at 6:20AM: Adds Cleco power restoration statement.

MANDEVILLE — A number of neighborhoods and businesses will likely get electrical power tonight as Cleco is set to energize key substations, according to Mayor Clay Madden.

Madden, in his daily Ida recovery update, said he spoke to Cleco officials today and they tell him that Greenleaves, Golden Glen, Lakewood Heights, Mariner’s Village, New Golden Shores, the Causeway Blvd. system, some in Old Golden Shores, and the surrounding commercial areas from Rouse’s to Neighborhood Walmart are “highly likely” to be energized tonight. Also Mandeville City Hall and the Mandeville Police complex are expected to get power.

However, the call from Cleco brought bad news for other areas, as officials told the mayor areas near Jackson Avenue could be another four-to-five days, and Tanglewood another week.

The entire St. Tammany Parish electrical grid went down as Hurricane Ida plowed through the region on the Hurricane Katrina anniversary August 29th, and original estimates from various sources were that Mandeville could be without power and other services for two weeks or longer, which is apparently no longer the case.

The report on the Jackson Avenue area jives with what several locals with businesses in the area said they were told by power company workers who felt confident that power in Old Mandeville would be restored by Monday, Labor Day, which would be four days from now.

A Spectrum worker who preferred not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company told Mandeville Daily that typically the Spectrum repair trucks roll right along with or directly behind Cleco trucks in a coordinated effort, so Spectrum service restoration often follows on the heals of Cleco.

However, this individual said that as of yesterday (September 1st) there was a problem with the main line that provides service from Slidell to the western half of St. Tammany Parish at present. Currently there are several dozen “faults” between Mandeville and Slidell that need to be diagnosed and repaired before western St. Tammany Parish — including Mandeville — has service.

This means Spectrum internet could lag several days behind Cleco’s restoration in this scenario — but not necessarily — according to the source.

Customers with AT&T fiber optic internet service are reporting that their internet connections returned with the electricity being restored or hooking up generators.

Madden announced yesterday (September 1st) that there “soon will be” two points of distribution in St. Tammany parish for MREs (U.S. military meals-ready-to-eat), water and possibly ice. Those locations are: First Baptist Church, 16333 Highway 1085, Covington, and Heritage Park, 1330 Bayou Lane, Slidell.

The mayor also said he is pushing to have a third location set up in Mandeville soon.

The recovery effort hasn’t been without trouble. A man was arrested yesterday for allegedly causing a fight at a Mandeville gas station. “This will not be tolerated and fighters will go to jail,” the mayor added.

The mayor also cautioned residents that because there are still many downed power lines throughout Old Mandeville they are not marking them all with cones or barricades.

Mandeville Police are actively enforcing a ban on sightseers along the Lakeshore Drive area, stopping cars or pedestrians to confirm they either live in the affected location or are actively assisting someone in recovery or repairs. Madden previously announced a zero-tolerance policy to deal with violators.

A citywide curfew remains in effect from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., Madden said.

The popular “Mandeville Beach” at the corner of Lakeshore Drive and Jackson Avenue appears to have suffered catastrophic damage. While structural damage to the playground facilities was minimal, most if not all of the sand from the beach was moved by the storm surge to the northern side of Lakeshore Drive.

Looking east along Lakeshore Drive at what was the Mandeville Beach. The sand that was to the right has been completely moved to the roadway and north of the roadway. Part of the sidewalk at the pedestrian been was washed out too. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
Looking east along Lakeshore Drive at what was the Mandeville Beach. The sand that was to the right has been completely moved to the roadway and north of the roadway. Part of the sidewalk at the pedestrian been was washed out too. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)

To see more photos of Old Mandeville damage, check out the Mandeville Daily Facebook page.

Here is Mayor Clay Madden’s complete public statement for Thursday, September 2nd:

THURSDAY HURRICANE IDA UPDATES:

As I’m writing this, I just received a call from CLECO:

Two substations in Old Mandeville are likely to go HOT tonight-the Penn Street and the Lambert Street subs. It is highly likely that Mandeville City Hall, Mandeville Police Station, Greenleaves, Golden Glen, Lakewood Heights and the surrounding commercial areas from Rouse’s to Neighborhood Wal Mart will go hot tonight. This also includes Mariners Village, New Golden Shores, and the Causeway. Some in Old Golden Shores are on the Causeways system. Certain areas of Old Mandeville could come on tonight. Areas near Jackson Avenue could be another 4-5 days. Tanglewood is looking like another week. It is still a fluid situation.

Cleco could NOT give me an estimate on the Sanctuary substation. They hope to later today. This sub feeds most of the neighborhoods along the west approach such as Weldon Park, Woodstone, Fontainebleau, The Sanctuary, Beau Rivage and includes me in the back of Old Golden Shores along with Lewisburg. I will continue to connect with Cleco on this for the duration of the storm recovery.

Curfew is still in effect for night time, but the times have been adjusted to 10pm to 6am. MPD will continue to strictly enforce this.

The Point of Distribution (POD) for the west side of the parish is now open at First Baptist Church in Covington-16333 Highway 1085. They have MREs, water and ICE.

I am continuing to fight hard for a POD in Mandeville. In the meantime, the First Baptist Church in Mandeville, located at 1895 Highway 190, will have water all day and 1500 hot meals today from 4-6pm. I have put in an official WebEOC request for tarps and ice. The biggest requests I’m getting are for tarps and ice. Anyone who has these, I’m diverting to the First Baptist Church in Mandeville. I hope to have these items there sometime today. Stay tuned! Unfortunately, I as the Mayor have NO control over gasoline. Those are private businesses. However, I have made all elected officials above me aware that we have a gas shortage in Mandeville.

The majority of our roads are now passable. A big thanks to our Department of Public Works, Mandeville Police, and Fire District 4, for intense tree cutting the last few days, along with our debris contractor. There are a few exceptions-roads with trees or poles tangled in power lines. Do not go near, or drive under, any hanging trees or power posts that are tangled in power lines.

Debris pickup will begin on Tuesday, September 7. This includes green waste/trees, construction and demolition, and white goods (appliances). Please separate these piles as best you can to speed up the process. Anyone who did not get their trash cart picked up on Wednesday, please have it by the curb on Saturday morning for pickup. NOTHING BAGGED will be picked up by either our debris contractor or garbage provider. This is because they cannot see what is in it. Bagged garbage will NOT be picked up.

Our Emergency Response and Recovery consultants have been assessing city assets. We’ve made the determination that the following public parks are CLOSED until further notice-Paul Cordes Park behind City Hall and Neighborwoods. The Tammany Trace is closed. Additionally, the walking bridge near Jackson Ave. on Lakeshore Drive sustained damage and is barricaded.

TREES-if you have a leaning tree on private property and you fear it will fall on your property, it is your responsibility to remove it. The city cannot go on private property. If you fear a leaning tree may fall on a city right of way or utility line, call our planning department at 985-624-3103 or email at planning@mandevillela.net. However, our debris monitoring contractor will be assessing all leaning trees on city right of ways.

Please stay tuned for further updates. My cell is 985-630-8578. Thank you!

This is a developing story. We will continue to provide updates on the Hurricane Ida recovery efforts here.

-30-

AFTERMATH: IDA RECOVERY BEGINS

Mayor to hold press conference today at 3PM

Total loss of power, services in St. Tammany Parish

Water safe to drink, says mayor

Curfew restrictions eased

911 service restored for Mandeville

Cleco and Spectrum restoration timeline expected soon

Could take weeks to restore services

City Council holds emergency meeting to allocate $525,000 for post-storm cleanup

Ida makes landfall as borderline Cat-4/Cat-5 storm


Updated August 31 at 1PM: Aftermath update #2
Updated August 30 at 10:25AM: Aftermath update #1
Updated August 29 at 6PM: Updates power outage numbers
Updated August 29 at 4PM: Updates power outage numbers; Refs Emergency council meeting.
Updated August 29 at 12:25PM: Updates that power restored.
Updated August 29 at 11:25AM: Updates that power expected to be restored soon.
Updated August 29 at 10AM: Add power outage update.
Updated August 29 at 7AM: Updates Ida projection.
Updated August 29 at 5:30AM: Adds flood model rendering. Updates Ida track and forecast.
Updated August 28 at 4PM: Adds latest statement from mayor.

MANDEVILLE — Mayor Clay Madden will hold a press conference at 3PM today (August 31st) as the city begins recovering from Hurricane Ida which brought a Katrina-like tidal surge and complete loss of power and government services to the entire area.

Initial reports indicate Mandeville could be without power for an extended period of time, perhaps weeks, but restoration timelines have not been provided yet, according to the mayor.

Madden issued a public statement on social media today (August 31st) which included updates on various aspects of the recovery, although more details are expected at the 3 p.m. presser.

According to the statement, 911 service has been restored to Mandeville. The service was completely knocked out by Ida’s impact.

Madden also noted that currently there is no boil-water advisory for Mandeville.

The mayor has eased the curfew, removing the daytime restrictions. Now the curfew is in effect from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. Madden said the curfew will be strictly enforced by Mandeville Police.

He also said that the police barricades, which are put in place to keep sightseers away, will be completely closed off at night.

The City of Mandeville restored its Internet services late yesterday after being completely offline since the storm; however, city government cell phone services — provided through AT&T — are only partially restored after a 24-hour outage. The city issued a statement yesterday, explaining why the mayor nor the city had made any social media or website updates immediately after the storm passed through.

According to various officials, the city’s command center at City Hall has been running on generator power since yesterday (August 30th).

Here is the mayor’s complete statement:

MAYOR’S STATEMENT (August 31, 2021 at 12:30PM)

HURRICANE IDA TUESDAY UPDATES:

The curfew has been lifted for daytime. It will remain in effect from 7pm to 6am until further notice. Mandeville Police will strictly enforce the nighttime curfew.

Lake water is up to Claiborne Street as of this morning. It has gone down since last night. Please continue to stay away from the lakefront. Barricades will be pushed aside during the day to allow access for emergency and utility vehicles. However, barricades will be put back in place at night.

911 is restored for emergency calls. Please still call our Mandeville Police Department at 985-626-9711. The fire department phone number is 985-643-4242.

Cleco and Spectrum have contacted me. There are no set timelines for restoration currently. However, we hope to have timelines soon. Cleco did do a press conference yesterday, which I will post here when I get the link.

Permits for standing and leaning trees are required. Discretion should be used for downed trees. If you hire a tree company, please make sure they are licensed and insured. Ask for confirmation! All permit fees are waived.

Our debris contractor is out currently clearing streets in west Mandeville subdivisions and main roadways. Our public works department, police department, and friends from Fire District 4, are currently doing the same in Old Mandeville. This is expected to be completed by the end of Wednesday. Please bring all of your debris to the curb and do not block roadways or driveways. Debris pickup is expected to begin in the next week. Our debris contractor will get it all picked up, thanks to our proactive emergency plan contract, though it might take 3-4 passes.

The City of Mandeville cannot go on private property. However, we’ve had several volunteer groups offer to help with downed trees on private property. Please call Kristine Scherer, our Mandeville volunteer coordinator, at 504-259-1068.

Volunteer organizations are currently organizing distribution centers for items such as tarps and ice. Please stay tuned for updates on this.

I want to repeat-if you pay a water bill to the City of Mandeville, that means you live in the city limits of Mandeville. Mandeville City Limit residents are NOT under a boil water advisory. Our water is tested everyday and is safe to drink, bathe and cook.

Stay tuned for additional updates. God Bless!

Some officials said initial reports indicate about an eight-foot tidal surge in Mandeville. A flood projection model circulated on social media showed a seven-foot “what-if” scenario.

Former Planning & Zoning Commission Member Ren Clark posted a flood projection model rendering to social media Friday (August 27th) showing where and to what degree the flooding would affect Old Mandeville if Lake Pontchartrain were at six feet above normal with one foot added to account for rain runoff (see below). According to Clark, the color key shows the expected depth of water above ground for a seven-foot event.

Flood projection model rendering showing where and to what degree the flooding would be with Lake Pontchartrain at six feet above normal with one foot added to account for rain runoff. (Mandeville Daily/Ren Clark)
Flood projection model rendering showing where and to what degree the flooding would be with Lake Pontchartrain at six feet above normal with one foot added to account for rain runoff. (Mandeville Daily/Ren Clark)

Those residents who stayed walked out their doors this morning to a maze of trees crisscrossing streets and downed utilities lines, making it impossible to navigate streets. There are reports of trees on house throughout the parish.

Mandeville Police are stopping anyone on major thoroughfares such as Florida Street. Madden had previously announced that no one would be allowed to sightsee near Lakeshore drive.

AT&T cell service was completely down in the area for about 24 hours, leaving locals to connect to mobile hotspots on friends’ devices who have Verizon or other mobile services. Verizon cell service appears to be working.

City Councilman at Large and City Council Chairman Jason Zuckerman posted to social media this morning (August 30th) telling citizens that Mandeville city government is beginning damage assessments and clearing blocked streets.

AT&T cell service appears to be 100% down. Verizon still has service. I made it to City Hall earlier and they were beginning damage assessments. EMS is clearing major streets right now. Please stay off the roads…I will forward updates from the Mayor/City as they become available.

City Councilman at Large Jason Zuckerman

The City Council held an emergency meeting Sunday (August 29th) via video call to allocate $525,000 for post-storm cleanup as Hurricane Ida slowly moves through the area today, August 29th, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in 2005.

Power outages begin to mount early as predicted in Mandeville. Cleco’s status page is reporting several thousand Mandeville residents without power as of 6 p.m Sunday.

While Katrina made landfall near Slidell as a Category 3, placing Mandeville on the western side of the circulation, also known as “the good side” of the storm, Ida is expected to pass to the west of Mandeville, allowing the city to potentially receive the brunt of the more dangerous eastern side. This means winds in Mandeville will be from the south or south-east and flooding and tornadoes are major concerns.

Madden released an updated statement Saturday (August 28th), calling for a voluntary evacuation for residents living south of Monroe Street in Old Mandeville as well as issuing a curfew for all of Mandeville. Madden declared a state of emergency Friday. Madden also said that officials will not tolerate sightseers near Lakeshore Drive.

According to officials, Ida has the potential to displace residents and leave others without electricity for an extended period of time.

The mayor issued a statement on social media Friday (August 27th) warning residents of the potential for a four-to-six foot storm surge along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline. Hurricane Katrina in 2006 brought approximately an eight-foot surge, he said.

Mandeville Mayor Clay Madden called for a voluntary evacuation for residents living south of Monroe Street. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
Mandeville Mayor Clay Madden called for a voluntary evacuation for residents living south of Monroe Street. (Mandeville Daily/William Kropog)
MAYOR’S STATEMENT (August 28, 2021 at 2PM):

HURRICANE IDA IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Lake Pontchartrain storm surge is expected to be between 4-7 feet. Mandeville could experience hurricane winds between 74-110 mph.

Please make sure your property and your construction sites are secure. City staff has been throughout the city enforcing and inspecting construction sites for safety both yesterday and today.

Based on the advice of my Mandeville Emergency Response Team (MERT), I am calling for a voluntary evacuation for south of Monroe Street in Old Mandeville starting NOW.

I want to remind everyone, if we experience sustained winds of 39 mph or higher, emergency services such police, fire and ambulance will cease.

I am imposing a curfew in Mandeville beginning at midnight tonight. Please stay off the streets unless it is an absolute emergency.

Please do not go to the Mandeville Lakefront. We are not tolerating storm tourism during this Hurricane Ida event.

We have created an email address for everything Hurricane Ida in Mandeville. The email address is hurricaneida@cityofmandeville.com. Please send all reports of damage and other emergency requests to this email address.

Today is my one year anniversary as the Mayor of Mandeville. It is a pleasure to serve the citizens of Mandeville. My personal cell phone number is 985-630-8578. Thank you and stay safe.

MAYOR’S STATEMENT (August 27, 2021):

To the residents of Mandeville:

I and my staff have been monitoring the situation with Hurricane Ida and its potential impact on Mandeville. We are working closely with St. Tammany Parish government. The present forecast shows an impact to Mandeville with potential deadly winds, tornados, storm surge and heavy rainfall. If you have been monitoring this situation you will notice that the present forecast is for a storm surge of 4 to 6 feet along the Mandeville coastline. For the citizens who were living in Mandeville during Hurricane Katrina the NWS recorded storm surge for the area was 8 feet (plus or minus). I give you these numbers to point out the potential surge amount and impact area in coastal Mandeville. I and my team will continue to monitor the storm 24/7 and keep you informed as to any changes. Tomorrow will be a very important day in decision making as we should have better data to support those decisions that will be made for your safety.

This morning I convened a meeting of the Mandeville Emergency Response Team. Here are the meeting takeaways:

  • Our Police and Public Works Departments are following normal protocols for a Level 3 Storm in the Gulf.
  • I have filed a State of Emergency declaration today to begin at 5am Saturday morning.
  • A decision about when to place bollards/barricades along Monroe Street or Jefferson Street will be made in the morning.
  • Information about sandbag and shelter locations can be found out http://www.stpgov.org/storm
  • Please make sure you and your family has sufficient supplies and please check on your elderly neighbors.

As water comes over the seawall in Old Mandeville, and begins to accumulate on the streets, we ask that you avoid this area for the safety of our residents.

Please stay tuned to Facebook and our City of Mandeville website for more updates on the storm. Stay safe!

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FLASH: ’Massage Parlor’ ordinance adopted

Makes it more difficult to conduct business while skirting state licensing rules

Dovetails with resolution to work with law enforcement to crack down

MANDEVILLE — The City Council tonight voted unanimously to make it more difficult for illicit ‘massage parlors’ to operate in the City of Mandeville.

Ordinance No. 21-26 empowers the city to revoke the licenses of businesses — including massage parlors — that are believed to be in violation of city, state or federal law. The ordinance was preceded by the adoption of Resolution No. 21-38 at the August 12th meeting which pledges city support to work with law enforcement agencies to crack down on these establishments.

Introduced by District I Councilwoman Rebecca Bush, the ordinance alters the Mandeville City Code of Ordinances Section 14-10, which is used to regulate the issuance and renewal of annual licenses to conduct business.

Previously, the city could only deny the application for a license or refuse to renew one if the city has “reasonable grounds to believe” the applicant or business is in violation of a law. With just seven words, revocation action has been added to the teeth of the law.

The change was prompted by a recent controversy surrounding two now-closed massage parlors that were operating inside Mandeville city limits, when an undercover sting operation by law enforcement netted an arrest at one of those establishments.

Michele Avery, president of Beau West Homeowner Association, told the council, “I think this is a great move… I’m very thankful to you for working with me to put this ordinance together.”

Bush thanked Councilmen at Large Rick Danielson and Jason Zuckerman for their help in bringing the ordinance related resolution to fruition.“

“I think it’s a good step forward, and a good effort on behalf of many people,” she added.

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’Massage Parlor’ ordinance up for vote

Proposal would allow city to yank license of any business found to be in violation of law

Updated August 26, 2021, at 6:27AM: Changes “found” to “believed” in lead for clarity.

MANDEVILLE — The City Council will vote tonight (August 26th) to empower the city to revoke the licenses of businesses — including massage parlors — that are believed to be in violation of city, state or federal law.

Ordinance No. 21-26, introduced by District I Councilwoman Rebecca Bush, would alter the Mandeville City Code of Ordinances Section 14-10, which is used to regulate the issuance and renewal of annual licenses to conduct business.

Currently, the city can only deny the application for a license or refuse to renew one if the city has “reasonable grounds to believe” the applicant or business is in violation of a law. With just seven words, revocation action will be added to the teeth of the law.

The proposed change was prompted by a recent controversy surrounding two now-closed massage parlors that were operating inside Mandeville city limits, when an undercover sting operation by law enforcement netted an arrest at one of those establishments.

A 52-year-old employee was booked on one count of prostitution by massage along with license violations. She was later released on $1,000 bond. The “OBH Massage Therapy” — the establishment where she worked — later closed when it was evicted by its landlord, but concerned citizens were frustrated that the arrest itself did nothing to close the business. The city was powerless to act.

But that would change if the City Council adopts the measure Thursday, in effect rewriting Section 14-10 to read as follows, adding the bolded text:

The tax collector of the City of Mandeville or his duly authorized assistants may refuse to issue or renew a license or revoke a license whenever the tax collector or authorized assistant has reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant for the license or the license holder is conducting the trade, business, profession, vocation or calling for which the license is sought in violation of any law of the United States of America or the State of Louisiana or in violation of any ordinances or regulations of the City of Mandeville.

Michele Avery, president of Beau West Homeowner Association, told Mandeville Daily “this is a good first step” because neither of the two massage parlors in question were properly licensed with the Louisiana Board of Massage Therapy.

Avery had been pushing for months to get law enforcement agencies to investigate the establishments in question — ones that she and other activists allege were “operating outside of the law and in plain sight.”

Avery added, “This ordinance would give the City the ability to revoke their occupational license if they are not properly licensed… However, keeping this form of sex trafficking out of Mandeville will require a partnership of active citizens, law enforcement, code enforcement and landlords that are not willing to lease to these types of establishments.”

The City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 26th, at 6 p.m. at the Paul Spitzfaden Community Center in Mandeville.

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City Council seeks AG opinion on Lenfant raise

Contentious debate among council, mayor, officials raises more questions

Mayor gave executive assistant $10K raise in June

Council says they should have been advised

MANDEVILLE — Over an hour of often-heated debate at tonight’s City Council meeting (August 12th) ended with a 4-1 vote to ask the state Attorney General for an opinion on whether a $10,000 raise Mayor Clay Madden recently awarded his executive assistant Trilby Lenfant is allowed under the city’s budget rules. The raise brings Lenfant to almost $82,000 annually. Only District I Councilwoman Rebecca Bush voted against.

At the heart of the matter is that Madden gave Lenfant the raise without first consulting the council, just months after the mayor’s proposal to move Lenfant into a proposed “Director of Administration” post with a $90,000 salary was rejected by the council.

Bush, Finance Director Kathleen Sides and City Attorney Elizabeth Sconzert debated budgeting and finance technicalities and legalese with the other members of the council, particularly Councilman at Large Rick Danielson, District III Councilwoman Jill McGuire and District II Councilman Skelly Kreller, who all expressed frustration with how Lenfant’s raise was awarded.

Individual council members have weekly breakfasts with the mayor — in groups of two so that the Open Meetings Law isn’t violated by forming a quorum — and Danielson, McGuire and Kreller said they were not told in advance about the raise.

Danielson said they only heard a rumor that the raise had been given after the fact. McGuire said she is frustrated that the City Council had to file a formal public records request just to receive details about the raise.

Resolution No. 21-33, introduced by Kreller, requests an opinion from the State Attorney General’s office on whether the raise broke City of Mandeville budget rules.

According to members of the council, any line item change of greater than 5% is supposed to go through a budget adjustment process, which would require council approval. However, in this particular situation the question being asked is, what constitutes an actual line item. Both Sides and Sconzert disputed whether the 5% rule applies to individual raises.

The budget for fiscal year 2020-21 — as adopted by the City Council under Ordinance 20-13 on Sept. 10, 2020 — is comprised of various exhibits, labeled B, C and D.

Exhibit B is titled “Job Class Detail” which lists the pay levels for each of the city’s job classifications under both General Government (10100) and Police Department (10110). The “Executive Secretary” (Trilby Lenfant) is listed as $71,782,65. The total for the General Government category in the exhibit is reported as $1,294,648.98.

But Exhibit D, which contains the so-called line items one typically associates with a budget has an entry for “General Government – Salaries” with a requested budget of $1,318,049 for 2021.

This makes Exhibit B more like a detail record of the “Salaries” line item in Exhibit D. Apparently the Attorney General is being asked for an opinion on which one constitutes the actual line item and hence is subject to the 5% rule, if it is applicable.

Developing…

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Claire Durio, Scott Quillin appointed to P&Z Commission

Durio’s partial term to expire in 2025

Quillin to serve full 7-year term, expiring in 2028

MANDEVILLE — The City Council tonight appointed Claire Durio and Scott Quillin to fill two vacancies on the Mandeville Planning & Zoning Commission.

Durio, appointed with a 5-0 vote, will complete Jeff Lahasky’s unfinished term which expires at the end of August 2025. Lahasky moved outside city limits, requiring him to resign. Scott Quillin, appointed on a 4-1 vote, will serve a full seven-year term, replacing outgoing commission member Ren Clark. District I Councilwoman Rebecca Bush voted against Quillin.

Durio is a licensed attorney in the State of Louisiana and a state-licensed title agent with experience in land use, development, permitting, historic preservation. She is listed as a general partner in her current firm.

Quillin is an engineer, licensed commercial contractor, and project manager at a local company managing large construction projects in the energy industry. He is currently listed as project manager with a local engineering consultant firm. Served on the Planning & Zoning Commission one term from 2009-2016.

The City Council updated its selection procedures in 2020 with the adoption of Resolution No. 20-17, which established a six-step process for making appointments to municipal or district boards and commissions, including the Planning & Zoning Commission. The procedure as adopted includes: 1) Announce at a council meeting the request for resumes; 2) Post the request for resumes on the city’s website and City Hall front door; 3) Publish the request for resumes in the city’s official journal of record (The St. Tammany Farmer); 4) Allow 14 days to receive resumes; 5) Review of the resumes by two members of the City Council (allow interviews by all council members) and then make a recommendation on one applicant (per vacancy); 6) Vote by the City Council to appoint “the candidate who received the recommendation.”

In filling these vacancies, Councilman at Large Jason Zuckerman and Bush handled the recommendation to fill Lahasky’s seat, while Councilman at Large Rick Danielson and District III Councilwoman Jill McGuire handled the seat vacated by Clark.

Bush, who had previously stated that she would like a District I resident appointed to a vacancy, said she and Zuckerman could not agree on her first two recommendations — Cynthia Thompson and Michael Gagliardi — but that they were able to agree on Durio. Zuckerman has maintained that he would only support the most qualified applicant regardless of their district of residence.

Danielson and McGuire recommended Quillin, but Bush took exception, saying, “I cannot support the appointment of a commissioner who has already served, and that’s just my position.”

District II Councilman Skelly Kreller said he disagreed with Bush on the matter. “I have to look at the best… and he definitely comes to the top. I’m not sure where you’re coming from with your comments.”

Each Planning & Zoning Commission member serves seven-year terms, which are staggered by one year and expire August 31 of the expiration year. Durio and Quillin will join five other Planning & Zoning Commission members: Planning Chairwoman Karen Gautreaux (2027), Zoning Chairman Nixon Adams (2023), Simmie Fairley (2022), Mike Pierce (2024), and Brian Rhinehart (2026).

According to the original agenda, the council could only have voted to fill the unfinished term vacated by Lahasky. The updated agenda means the council could fill both vacancies at tonight’s meeting, which they did.


RELATED STORY: Council could fill both P&Z vacancies tonight, not just one


A vote to fill one of the vacancies was delayed at the July 22nd council meeting. A question was raised during that meeting over the availability of the list of applicants for public inspection as required by state law.

The Planning and Zoning Commission appointment provisions are outlined under the Comprehensive Land Use Regulations Ordinance (CLURO) Sec. 2.1.2: “All successive appointments to the Planning Commission (includes Zoning Commission) shall be appointed by a majority vote of the City Council. No person shall be appointed to the Planning Commission until a public hearing before the City Council attended by the nominee has been held.”

The point raised was, can the city hold a “public hearing” on an individual without publishing the name of that individual or individuals in advance. The Louisiana Open Meetings Law (R.S. 42:11 – R.S. 42:28) only states that meeting agenda items must be “described with reasonable specificity.”

Mandeville Daily filed a public records request with the city and received the redacted list of applicants in a timely manner.

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