The cookie that is the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President’s Office, is beginning to crumble.
The first resignation amid the stormwater utility fee controversy has been turned into the mayor’s office. Sources say additional resignations/terminations are expected.
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kelvin Hill has resigned. Mayor Broome hired Hill in early 2019. Prior to that, Hill worked at Georgia Pacific in Port Hudson.
Unfiltered with Kiran has repeatedly called and texted former reporter turned Chief Communications Officer Mark Armstrong to confirm Hill’s resignation officially, but the calls and texts have yet to be answered. Sources have confirmed the resignation. UWK still awaits any response from the mayor’s office on the stormwater utility fee.
All this comes after Unfiltered with Kiran broke news Tuesday that two separate federal agencies proved Mayor Broome and her staff were not forthcoming when they claimed they could not detail the fee due to a non-disclosure agreement.
“A part of coming into compliance of where we need to be is to ask council for support to pass this legislation and other elements of that process, we have been…just to be honest about it, under a gag order and we haven’t been able to really discuss it in a public way, at least not the way we would want to do it or we would anticipate to be able to,” Kelvin Hill, the assistant chief administrative officer for Mayor Broome, told the EBR Council at the Oct. 12th meeting.
Hill went on to say “I will say this though, I am concerned deeply concerned if this item has to wait till the 26th, that would be problematic for city-parish.”
Mayor Broome responded via a statement with part of it saying:
“No state or federal governmental agency has required the City-Parish to execute a non-disclosure agreement or confidentiality agreement as it pertains to stormwater compliance. However, as is standard practice, settlement discussions that may lead to court action should remain confidential for the benefit of all parties.
There is no NDA regarding the stormwater proposal. There is an NDA with the Parish Attorney concerning our conversations with the Justice Department regarding our MS4 audit. Also, while there is no deadline regarding our stormwater proposal, there is a deadline from the Justice Department to submit our plan for MS4 permit compliance.”
Since then, the mayor requested the item no longer be voted on by the metro council, but per law, the council must still take up the item for public discussion.
Since the news came to light, several EBR council members have expressed how upset and hurt they are saying they were misled by the administration.
“Now, the public is going to be very disheartened and very untrusting of public officials and the council is now very untrusting of the administration because of exactly what has happened here,” said EBR Councilman Aaron Moak.
At least six council members have put in a public records request asking for the mayor, her staff and several parish-attorneys’ texts, phone calls and emails in regards to the fee.