Port Allen hiring sparks controversy
The recent appointment of Adrian Genre as Port Allen’s chief administrative officer was ripe with controversy — mainly because of his past.
In 2000, Genre was forced to resign as the city’s chief of police after pleading guilty to perjury in a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city and the police department. Genre had served in the position for seven years.
On June 13, the City Council approved Mayor Roger Bergeron’s recommendation of Genre for the CAO post by a 3-2 vote. Council members R.J. Loupe Sr., Hugh “Hootie” Riviere and Ralph Bergeron voted for the recommendation. Council members Irvrie Johnson and Ray Helen Lawrence voted no.
Before the vote, Lawrence said the professional background of Cenceria LeMone Dalcourt was “outstanding” compared to Genre’s.
Dalcourt was serving as interim CAO while Barry Brewer was on paid leave. Brewer officially retired from the position June 11.
Lawrence said Dalcourt had been doing a fine job in the position, but Mayor Bergeron alluded to some concerns he had about Dalcourt.
The city’s advertisement for the position required candidates hold at least a bachelor’s degree in business, public administration or a government-related field and have a minimum of five years’ supervisory experience, preferably in government.
Dalcourt’s résumé lists experience as a project manager and director of disaster management with Glenn Shaheen & Associates Inc. from January 2008 to November 2009 as well as a year-long stint as a project manager with the Office of Coastal Restoration in New Orleans. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Southern University and an online master’s degree in emergency disaster management from American Military University.
Genre holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now UL-Lafayette.
Besides his term as chief of police, his résumé lists experience as the owner of Jason’s Restaurant & Catering in Port Allen since 2001 and two years as a probation officer with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
Twelve people applied for the CAO position and five were interviewed by the city’s Personnel and Finance Committee.
Bergeron said repeatedly that Genre was the “best person for the job.”
Many residents attending last month’s meeting were clearly upset by the decision, calling it a slap in the face after Genre’s past betrayal of their trust as police chief.
The mayor said it is unfair to continue to punish Genre for his past mistake.
“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my career,” Bergeron said recently. “Yeah, he made a mistake, but he paid for it. I’ve known him for 20-plus years. I’ve seen no racial animosity from him in the time I’ve known him.”
Bergeron added that Genre, as police chief, hired twice as many black officers than white officers.
Genre’s first day as CAO was July 2, and he will be paid $64,867 annually, the mayor said.
Whether Bergeron’s decision will have any political ramifications remains to be seen, but he said he is confident any dismay by the public will subside.
“Once Mr. Genre gets to work, I think those concerns will be alleviated by what he does on a day-to-day basis,” Bergeron said.
Terry Jones is The Advocate’s Westside
Bureau chief. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.