Thursday, January 16, 2014

As Another High-Ranking Kenner Official Abruptly Resigns, Yet Another JP Retread Assumes His Position

The exodus of high-ranking City of Kenner employees coupled with the selection of former Jefferson Parish employees with ties to Aaron Broussard continues.

The latest to announce their departure is Kenner City Attorney Keith Conley. Conley, a holdover from the Muniz Administration was also significant campaign donor to Mike Yenni’s 2010 election.

Sources were unclear about Conley’s last day but they say that, despite rumors to the contrary, there was no personal falling out between Conley and Yenni. In fact, the two had lunch today (Thursday) after the press conference announcing the design of proposed new terminal at Armstrong International Airport.

Conley had been rumored to be interested in the position of Kenner Police Chief, a rumor that he did not deny when asked several months back. Those rumors have died down and sources claim that is not the reason for Conley’s abrupt resignation.

Conley is a former JPSO Deputy and while serving as City Attorney has also maintained an association with the Brandner Law Firm headed by Michael Brandner. Brandner was also a campaign contributor to Yenni and was appointed to several committees by Yenni.

Qualifying for the Spring Kenner Elections begins on February 12th.

Recently, in addition to serving as City Attorney, Conley also served as the Interim Code Enforcement Director after Tamithia Shaw also resigned suddenly. Ironically, Ms. Shaw's replacement, Amy Vallot, just took over about a week ago.

The Kenner Code Enforcement Department has been under increased scrutiny after allegations surfaced of missing money and the City’s hiring of private investigators to provide surveillance of some Code employees. Conley approved the surveillance.

On an interim basis, Mayor Yenni has hired former Jefferson Parish Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz.
Gruntz retired from JP in 2011 after serving for 20 years and 7 Parish Presidents, including one of Mayor Yenni’s mentors, Aaron Broussard.

While employed as Deputy Parish Attorney Gruntz saw his supervisor, Tom Wilkinson, along with former CAO Tim Whitmer and Broussard resign in disgrace.

During his retirement, Gruntz served as Chairman of the Jefferson Parish Charter Review Committee, a committee which did little in the way of adding any meaningful changes to the charter or reforms.

In addition to Shaw and Conley, in August 2012, Pratt Reddy resigned abruptly as Kenner’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for PublicWorks. Reddy was replaced by Public Works Director Jose Gonzales, himself a former longtime Jefferson Parish employee and Interim Parish President for about 7 days after Broussard resigned in 2010.

Yenni will introduce Gruntz at the next Kenner City Council meeting on February 6th.