Donaldsonville Fire Chief Chuck Montero set to retire


Longtime Donaldsonville Fire Chief Chuck Montero will retire from his position in early 2017.

Montero told the Mayor and City Council Tuesday night that his retirement will be effective March 1, 2017.

The Civil Service Board will advertise the upcoming position. Applicants will be tested on the job's tasks. It will be on a pass or fail basis. Applicants who pass will be placed on a list for hiring consideration.

Montero said there is a possibility of an interim chief serving in the postion until a permanent replacement is hired.

Currently, James McDonald serves as Assistant Chief for the Donaldsonville Fire Department.

In other matters before the Council during Tuesday's regular meeting:

SHERIFF'S REPORT: The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office has an ongoing campaign reminding residents to "Lock It To Stop It."

The reference is to securing belongings from potential burglars.

APSO Westside Captain Darryl Smith said burglaries are an issue everywhere, especially during the holidays.

Smith said the Sheriff's Office has been proactive by beefing up patrols and adjusting shift changes to combat the problem.

Also, Smith told the Council that deputies have been addressing vehicles parked on city sidewalks.

The Captain said deputies initially gave verbal warnings and written warnings to those blocking the walkways. The next step will be to issue citations to repeat violators.

LDRC: Robyn Penn Delaney, project manager for the Louisiana Development Ready Communities (LDRC) program, presented a report on the commitee's recent activities.

The nine-person commitee has been active for five years, beginning in December 2011. As of January 1, 2017, the project will be turned over to Lee Melancon, who was hired recently to streamline city efforts.

Though city officials earmarked $20,000 for the LDRC, a total of $14,667.73 was spent from November 13, 2015 to December 6, 2016. The surplus will be rolled over to the Donaldsonville Downtown Development District.

Delaney provided a line-item report, accounting for all money spent by the committee.

The Council and Mayor applauded Delaney and the commitee for their exceptional work over the years.

SUMMER PROGRAM: As Ascension Parish School Board member for westbank schools, Delaney has organized an annual summer program to help students sharpen their skills over the break.

The Council voted to renew the city's co-operative agreement with the Back to School Refresher Program for the summer of 2017.

The proposed dates are Monday, July 24 to Friday, July 28, 2017, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lemann Memorial Center.

The program is for students ranging from pre-K to 12th grade.

Delaney said about 225 students participated in 2016.

She added several volunteers who have worked with the students in the past have offered to help again.

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS: The annual Christmas parade will be Saturday, December 17 beginning at 1 p.m.

The route begins at the fairgrounds, continues down Marchand Drive, Railroad Avenue, and concludes at Louisiana Square.

Organizer Murray Walker said the westbank schools will be heavily involved in this year's parade.

He said Donaldsonville High, Lowery Middle, and Donaldsonville Primary will all be well-represented.

This year's Grand Marshal will be Ed Price, who is currently serving District 58 in the Louisiana House of Representatives. His area encompasses Ascension, Iberville and St. James parishes.

Co-Grand Marshal will be Darrell Marquette, who is retiring after 30 years of service as a teacher and coach.

Mayor Leroy Sullivan said City Hall will be closed Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26 in observance of Christmas.

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