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Fired Kenner inspector can have job back, board rules

The Kenner Civil Service Board has reinstated a city employee fired in May, finding that his dismissal — officially blamed on reckless driving — was in fact “arbitrary and … without reasonable cause.” Joey Metzler, an electrical inspector with Kenner’s Code Enforcement Department who was fired on March 25, will be reinstated with back pay after… Continue reading →

Firm drops plan to add oil storage tanks at Marrero plant

A petroleum distribution company has dropped plans to add more storage tanks as part of an overhaul of its Marrero facility. Magellan Midstream will go forward with other aspects of the project but not the addition of 13 tanks to the 53 that are already on the property, company spokesman Tom Byers told the Jefferson Parish… Continue reading →

Good news for NOPD: Chief Michael Harrison says recruiting starting to hit its stride

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Interim NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison is shown in this Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The newest faces of the New Orleans Police Department are a diverse bunch. Among them are a former UNO baseball pitcher whose recent jobs included termite inspector and country club pool guy, a state probation and parole officer whose sister is former City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, a Cuban-born Floridian with an MBA, the ex-manager of… Continue reading →

Surprise move: St. Bernard Parish president David Peralta threatens to veto measure limiting his authority

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta

With little fanfare beyond a quick reading of the proposed language, the St. Bernard Parish Council on Tuesday took steps to limit the authority of Parish President David Peralta, drawing a strong rebuke from the embattled parish leader, who in a surprise threatened to veto one of the two measures. The council, by a 4-1 vote,… Continue reading →

St. John water employees suspended after being charged with faking tests

DO NOT RUN DO NOT RUN DO NOT RUN  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, May 31, 2013 holds a press conference at the Port of New Orleans headquarters for the first day of hurricane season to talk about the protection system. Also included were the parish presidents whose parishes are included within that greater New Orleans system. Natalie Robottom President of St. John The Baptist Parish. MAGS  OUT / INTERNET  OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/  MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ELIOT KAMENITZ

Two St. John the Baptist Parish employees accused of faking chlorine-level tests, which would have found the presence of a potentially dangerous amoeba in the parish water supply, have been suspended without pay following their indictment Monday on charges of malfeasance in office and maintaining false public records. Meanwhile, parish officials, with the help… Continue reading →

St. Bernard Council to vote on limiting raises, new hires

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta leaves the parish jail after posting bond in April.

The St. Bernard Parish Council is slated to vote Tuesday on imposing a six-month freeze on new hires and salary raises for current employees — moves that would limit the authority of the parish’s embattled first-term president, David Peralta, who faces mounting criminal charges. Both ordinances were introduced earlier this month after a lengthy closed-door session… Continue reading →

Two St. John Parish employees indicted over fake water tests

Two St. John the Baptist Parish employees responsible for testing chlorine levels in the parish water supply — an important safety measure against a potentially dangerous amoeba — were indicted on Monday, accused of faking the results of tests they never actually carried out. Kevin Branch, 54, of LaPlace, and Danielle Roussel, 43, of Paulina, each… Continue reading →

TV star Ian Somerhalder shills for DA candidate, but message may be ‘Lost’

Instagram image

The St. Tammany Parish district attorney’s race may be the highest-profile local election on the local ballot, but it hardly seems like the kind of contest that would draw the eye of Hollywood. But Ian Somerhalder, smoldering star of the “The Vampire Diaries” and “Lost,” is a Covington native, and he’s weighing in on social media with… Continue reading →

Plans for new Levee District building in Kenner to be restudied

Officials will re-evaluate plans for a new East Jefferson Levee District headquarters in Kenner after hearing opposition from residents worried that the project would create problems for neighbors and for mourners at nearby historic cemeteries. The new building is planned for an area of south Kenner next to two traditionally African-American burial… Continue reading →

Mayor Landrieu proposes raises for cops; millions for firefighter pensions and city jail also in 2015 budget

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--  New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses the media in city hall before presenting his 2015 budget to city council in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. EMS director Dr. Jeffrey M. Elder stands to the left of the mayor and the city's Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin stands to the right.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday proposed an operating budget for 2015 that includes the first police raises in eight years, reflecting both the persistence of violent crime as a top concern in New Orleans and a relatively healthy increase in tax revenue. Under Landrieu’s budget, which now goes to the City Council for debate, members of… Continue reading →

2 vie to unseat Skrmetta in contentious PSC race

Eric Skrmetta, left, Allen âAlâ Leone, center, Forest Bradley Wright

With a longtime U.S. senator and an embattled Juvenile Court judge among the candidates fighting to keep their seats in the Nov. 4 election, it’s nearly impossible for the Public Service Commission’s 1st District race to attract much public attention, but with the candidates for that seat lobbing increasingly pointed attacks at one another, the race has become… Continue reading →

Mayor’s budget for New Orleans, due Wednesday, will be subject to change

The 2015 operating budget that Mayor Mitch Landrieu presents to the City Council on Wednesday will in some ways be no more than a first draft. That’s because the mayor won’t know until early next year whether voters will approve a property tax hike for additional police and fire coverage. Also, Landrieu’s administration is still in… Continue reading →

Work-release operator with ties to corrections officials building an empire

Photo provided by WWL  --  Ground breaking of Livingston Parish Work Release.

A privately owned work-release program in Covington run by close allies of St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain has been closed since March, when an inmate escaped and allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend. In the wake of that episode, state Department of Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc said he would no longer allow local sheriffs to outsource… Continue reading →

Would you believe? Jefferson Performing Arts Center is nearly finished

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Jefferson Performing Arts Center, is nearing completion after 7 years of work Monday, October 13, 2014.

In a development that many people in Jefferson Parish probably thought would never happen, construction teams are putting the final touches on the Jefferson Performing Arts Center. Workers are installing carpeting and making other minor additions. Cleaning crews are moving through the building, wiping down the glass panels that permeate the design. On the stage, crews… Continue reading →

BGR urges council to reject exceptions to zoning rules

The New Orleans City Council should either eliminate or substantially revise a section of the proposed new comprehensive zoning ordinance that would allow developers to receive exceptions to many regulations in exchange for providing certain benefits to the city, the Bureau of Governmental Research said in a report issued Monday. The nonpartisan watchdog group said the… Continue reading →