Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni is digging in his heels and refusing to step down, despite calls from the entire parish council for him to resign.
Last week, he admitted to sending inappropriate text message to a teenage boy.
Councilman-At-Large Chris Roberts said Yenni's behavior was so egregious that it makes him unfit to lead. He also said Yenni staying in office doesn't bode well for the parish.
"It's unfortunate and I think there was some very good hope that this is the kind of energy that was needed in the parish," Roberts said. "This is such a large distraction. I just don't see any way for us to pull the pieces together and move on from this point."
Council Member Jennifer Van Vrancken is also fearful Yenni's continued presence will be a major distraction.
"I think you'll find each council person, anyone associated with parish government, we are concerned it'll have a negative impact on doing the business of parish government," Van Vrancken said. "We have some very important millage elections coming up in December. we have to get those passed, and we don't want this to impact us negatively."
Council Member At-Large Cynthia Lee-Sheng issued a statement saying: "If (Yenni) was truly someone who put the best interest of Jefferson Parish first, then he would resign already and not make this into a long and protracted ordeal."
Roberts admitted the council members have no authority to force Yenni's resignation, but they can make life difficult for the parish president.
"The council can certainly limit his authority and limit what departments exist and what he does or how he's able to utilize public assets for his office," Roberts said.
Roberts was quick to point out, so far, there is no consensus on the council to limit Yenni's authority. He expects Yenni to address council members' concerns at their October 19 meeting in the West Bank Council Chambers.
(© 2016 WWL)