GRETNA, La. -- Embattled Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni appeared at the regular council meeting for the first time since he became embroiled in a sexting scandal following a WWL-TV story.
Before the council began regular business, Yenni gave a brief statement to the council acknowledging and apologizing for his behavior but saying that it is time to move on with parish business.
"The mistakes I made will never be repeated," he vowed and apologized to those who he had hurt. "I never expect you or the people I hurt to forget my iniquity, but I hope that you and will let mercy triumph over judgment."
"I can only grow stronger as a husband, a father and a public servant from the immorality that once weakened me."
Yenni said his faith in God has guided him through the troubled time. That troubled time has been a storm of controversy, including calls for him to resign and a recall effort since allegations surfaced in a WWL-TV story that Yenni was being investigated by the FBI for sending explicit texts to a then-17-year-old high school student.
"My Catholic strong faith has guided me through this personal storm," he said, adding that he sought guidance again in the Bible. "I can tell you I have prayed longer and harder than I have before for forgiveness."
Yenni thanked the family, friends and clergy who have supported him.
Yenni took aim at the media who have doggedly followed him for a statement, which he has mostly evaded since the scandal began by staying absent from public events.
"My personal life has been invaded, but I shall not let my public life be invalidated," he said. "Even though the boundaries of personal and private have been erased, I have accepted my responsibilities for these actions."
In the end, Yenni said it was his job to move the parish forward. "I humbly ask you to let me do my job."
However, those in attendance and the council seemed unready to move on, as public comments were dominated by the Yenni issue, with most speakers calling for him resign. First was a heated exchange between Rev. Aubrey Wallace, who told Yenni not to resign, and frequent Yenni critic Al Morella.
"I vehemently dislike what this man did," said Wallace, "I think it's very sleazy. I think it's the lowest you can get, but he salvaged it."
"You're not sorry for anything, man," Morella yelled. "You know what you are sorry for? You're sorry that 17-year-old came forward and exposed you for who you are."
Yenni chalked a lot of the opposition to political opponents and detractors.
"This incident was between me and a legal, college-bound adult. I have not violated any laws," Yenni said, defending himself.
The Council then passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in Yenni and asked him to resign immediately. The vote has no force to remove him office.
(© 2017 WWL)