Pernell Wants More Participation


A proposal to name former Orange mayor Brown Claybar to the city’s Civil Service Commission failed Tuesday morning after City Councilmember Annette Pernell said she wants more citizens to serve.

She complained that the open position was not posted on the city’s website, though openings for other appointed board positions have been.

“It seems like these boards are like a hamster on a wheel,” she said. “It’s the same people on the boards over and over again. We keep getting the same results.”

City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said it was his fault the position was not posted.

City Attorney Jack Smith said the Civil Service Commission rarely has business. It was set up through state legislation for cities with civil service to handle complaints from departments covered by civil service rules. In Orange, those are the fire and police departments.

Smith said since the citizens approved collective bargaining for fire and police, complaints are handled through the union collective bargaining procedures.

The city has a number of different commissions and boards. They include Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustments, Historic Preservation Commission, Library Advisory Board and Convention and Visitors Board.

Pernell wants more people to participate in the city. She said before she was elected to the council, she wanted to be on the Convention and Visitors Board, but she never saw an opening or knew when to apply.

She said all city board and commission members should be listed on the city’s website along with the dates of their appointments and terms. Openings also should be posted so people can apply.

At this time, the city has two positions open on the Historic Preservation Commission that oversees issues in the Old Orange Historic District.

That commission had a scheduled meeting for Tuesday evening, but the meeting was canceled for a lack of quorum.

The vote to appoint Claybar to the Civil Service Commission failed with two votes of a possible four. Mayor Pro Tem Larry Spears Jr. presided at the meeting in the absence of Mayor Jimmy Sims. District 2 Councilmember Dr. Wayne Guidry was also absent. District 1 Councilmember Pat Pullen and At-Large Councilmember Bill Mello voted to appoint Claybar.

In other business City Economic Development Director Jay Trahan said the city’s social media coordinator, Hillary Haynes, is going to start doing stories on local businesses. She will post the stories on the city’s Facebook page. The first two stories will be about downtown businesses Orange Stationer and Farmers Mercantile.

The council approved an agreement with St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Meeks Drive to use the church’s cafeteria in case of a hurricane. The facility would be used to feed or have a contractor feed city employees and first responders during the emergency time.

Dr. Oubre said his brother, Father Sinclair Oubre, is the pastor of the church, but council members did not see that as a conflict to the use of the facility.


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