St. Landry Parish President resigns from office to focus on health

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot announced today that he would step down from his position to focus on his health. Fontenot was diagnosed with a type of skin cancer known as Squamous Cell Carcinoma earlier this year.

“After much deliberation, I have decided it best that I step aside,” said Fontenot.  “This was not an easy decision to make, and it is a decision that I made in conjunction with my family and physicians.”

Fontenot said he would officially step down as parish president at the end of the day on Friday, August 21.

“It has been a great run, and I have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Fontenot, who was elected to his third term in November of 2019.  “I’m proud of the work we’ve done for the parish.  I truly believed we worked to move St. Landry Parish in the right direction.”

He cited his work to resurface all parish roads known as the Smooth Ride program, balancing the budget and working with the parish animal shelter to have more pets rescued and fewer animals euthanized.

“I’ve been working as a public servant my whole life,” said Fontenot.  “Between my work at the Department of Transportation and my time as parish president, I’ve been blessed with helping the people of Louisiana and, most importantly, the citizens of St. Landry Parish.”

Fontenot thanked Chief Financial Officer Amanda Cain and Administrative Coordinator Richard Lucito for running the day-to-day operations of the parish while he was on medical leave.  In executive orders 2020-1 and 2020-2, Fontenot granted authority to Cain to sign all documents on his behalf and for both Cain and Lucito to act as his designee.

“They have worked tirelessly to make sure the parish continues to be served by its government,” he said.  “They’ve had the difficult task of keeping the government functioning and keeping the budget balanced during the Coronavirus pandemic, and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts.”

According to the parish’s charter, the parish council will have 30 days to appoint a replacement for Fontenot, and because there are three years left on Fontenot’s term, a special election will need to be called.

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