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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release

Angelique Richardson's Letter to the Editor on the Parish Government Session

For Immediate Release:                                                       10/24/14
Contact:                                                                                 Nic LeBlanc

Angelique Richardson's Letter to the Editor on the Parish Government Session

Dear Editor:

 I am part of the 2014-1025 Leadership Tangipahoa class and I would like to share with you an incredible program that I, and 19 other professionals, experienced.  As our first session, we visited Tangipahoa Parish Government.  I can not begin to share all the information that was imparted to us this day, but I would like to cover the highlights and extend my gratitude to our public servants.

We began the day at the Parish Government Office and heard from David Vial, Chairman, about his perspective on the importance of Parish Government.  We also heard from Jeff McNeely, a fellow CPA, who had a firm understanding of our Home Rule Charter, and gave an interesting presentation on our transition from a Police Jury to the Charter in the 1980's.  Finally, we heard from Parish President, Gordon Burgess, who passionately leads our parish and admittedly surrounds himself with experts in each field to insure that our parish runs efficiently, yet effectively. 

Following Parish Government, we had the opportunity to meet these highly qualified department heads.  We began with the Registrar of Voters and saw their commitment to registering as many voters as they can.  I was proud to hear that Louisiana is ahead of the nation in voter registration, currently at 85%, thanks in part to the hard work of this office.  Please visit www.geauxvote.com for a plethora of information about your registration and the upcoming elections.  Next, we met with Clerk of Court, Julian Dufreche, who is responsible for every document that flows through this parish from civil lawsuits, conveyances, mortgages, marriages, criminal lawsuits, passports, etc.  He handles over 10,000 lawsuits a year!  Most impressively, his office pays for itself and does not operate based on taxpayer funds - only on fees charged to process these documents. You can find many of these documents at www.tangiclerk.org. Following Mr. Dufreche, was the Parish Assessor, Joaquin Matheu, a very honest, down to earth individual with a great staff.  His office knows and values our entire parish, which is 64 miles long and 22 miles across! 

One of my favorite parts of the day was a trip to the Parish Landfill, run by Terrance Stewart.  I was highly impressed with the operation he runs, from his creative use of waste and every other resource.  They have plans to use old tire shreds to build a shooting range for the Sheriff's Office and they capture gas released by the breakdown of the trash and burn it off, thereby collecting carbon credits which can be sold to offset expenses.  As an environmental protection, non-active parts of the landfill are covered with a high-tech cover, making it look like rolling green hills.  Impressive for a place that accepts 500 tons a day, 6 days a week!  Next, we met with Chip Fitz who has an impossible job of balancing the need for animal control and the humane treatment of all animals that pass through this facility.  From front to back, the facility was clean and the overall focus was on the high level of care provided these animals.  Please visit www.tangianimalcontrol.org to adopt a pet or volunteer to play with the animals.  Next we met with Dennis Wallette and saw that the job of killing mosquitos is more high-tech than you think.  Our parish now owns our own planes and uses programs to determine spray paths to target key areas.  I am appreciative of their hard work every evening when I am outside!  Finally, we met with Alyson Lapuma with the Planning Department, Andy Currier and Nic LeBlanc with the Permit Office, Tom Fagan with DHHOPH, and Bridgette Bailey with TRACC.  Mr. Burgess was right when he said he surrounds himself with experts.  Each of these individuals works tirelessly for our parish, and are knowledgeable in their fields.  Alyson is working in conjunction with the Clerk of Court and Assessor to have a mapping function that provides citizens with all vital information on land in one place.  Not only do Andy and Nic approve permits, but they can assist with code enforcement.  Call their office if your neighbor decides to make his yard a dump!  Tom ensures that your food is safe.  To see his findings on your favorite restaurant, visit www.eatsafe.la.gov. Bridgette has reduced substance abuse and alcohol and drug related car accidents in our parish in her years of service through TRACC.

As if our day weren't educational enough, we also had the pleasure to dine with Mr. Gordon Burgess, his staff, and special guest, Kevin Davis, Director of the LA Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.  We heard what Louisiana, in conjunction with our parish officer, Dawson Primes, is doing to keep us safe and prepare for future emergencies.  If you donít have a plan for your family or your business, please visit www.gohsep.la.gov for information on how to Get A Game Plan.  You can also download the app, AlertFM, to stay informed by the state and parish in the event of an emergency.  This special guest and an amazing lunch were enjoyed at the Florida Parishes Arena.  Known for Rodeos and Barrel Racing, the facility also has a new enclosed area for meetings and events.  This diverse location is run by Director, Kelly Wells, and his staff.  The facility is for rent for your next rodeo and I am told, has even hosted a wedding or two!

I would like to personally and emphatically thank all of our public servants in Tangipahoa Parish government for taking the time for me and my fellow Leadership Tangipahoa participants, but most of all, for the valuable service they provide to our parish each day.  Many of these roles are not glamorous, but absolutely necessary to our parish and its success.  I only named directors here, but special thanks go out to all of their staff, as well, who support these vital services to our parish.  Thank you all!


Angelique Richardson, CPA, CGMA, NP
Jani-King Gulf Coast Region