Inside Metro New Orleans Politics for April 20, 2013

Marcia St. Martin
Marcia St. Martin

St. Martin to retire
as S&WB director

Marcia St. Martin, who has served as executive director of the Sewerage & Water Board since 2004, will retire at the end of the year.

St. Martin made the announcement earlier this week during the S&WB’s board meeting. She cited an upcoming double knee replacement surgery as the reason for her departure. Her retirement will be effective Dec. 31.

She said during Wednesday’s board meeting that the surgery stems from an injury she suffered while wading through Hurricane Katrina’s waters.

St. Martin leaves the water utility at a time when it is poised to undergo major changes in its operations.

Several bills filed for the legislative session could see the board’s makeup changed. Those changes were proposed as part of a way to better manage the agency that is poised to begin a massive $3 billion overhaul of the city’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure.

St. Martin leaves with a sizable retirement package that has been at the focus of many headlines since that news was revealed during a time when the S&WB and city began discussing raising customers’ rates.

Media reports have pegged her annual pension at $175,000, along with a large, one-time lump sum of several hundred thousand dollars from the city’s retirement plan.

St. Martin, who began her career as an accountant at City Hall more than 40 years ago, was previously the S&WB’s deputy director for 12 years. She has been with the agency for 22 years overall.

Accomplishments during her tenure include leading the S&WB through Katrina and overseeing a 1998 consent decree that mandated changes to the city’s sewage collection system. A news release noted that St. Martin established the “crescent meter logo” as the agency’s official and identifying symbol.

The S&WB board has asked the executive committee to develop criteria for a search firm or consultant to lead a national search for St. Martin’s replacement. The committee will begin to act on that during its upcoming meetings.

Clarkson appoints herself to new post

Jackie Clarkson has two ways she can be identified: Councilwoman at-large and City Council vice president.

During Thursday’s council meeting she appointed herself to a new position: aunt to Jacoby Jones.

In introducing Jones, a Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and New Orleans native, to recognize him for his victory during Super Bowl XLVII, a giddy Clarkson also introduced herself.

“I’m your Aunt Jackie,” Clarkson told Jones. “I just appointed myself.”

Clarkson then proceeded to point out that she was so excited Jones was set to appear before the council that she decided not to wear her typical red blazer.

Instead, she wore a black shirt with a purple blazer, the Baltimore Ravens’ team colors.

“I see you representing,” Jones told Clarkson.

“I would not have dared show up in my red,” Clarkson said, since that is one of the team colors of the San Francisco 49ers, who fell to the Ravens during the Super Bowl.

“I’m very into the color of teams,” Clarkson added. “I grew up under a coach.”

City to soon detail N.O. WTC site ideas

The city is expected to release details next week about three proposals that deal with the future vacant World Trade Center Building at the foot of Canal Street.

Gatehouse Capital, Tricentennial Consortium and McDonnel Construction Services responded to a request for proposals from the city about what to do with the site and the 33-story tower that sits on the land, which city officials have described as the most valuable pieces of property in New Orleans.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said he would like to see the site redeveloped and would not be against seeing the skyscraper demolished.

City Hall spokesman Ryan Berni said details about each proposal are expected to be released on Monday.

Compiled by

Danny Monteverde