Statement From Kort T. Hutchison, Sr. (Retired)

“I, along with eight other commissioners, became the charter members of the STLDCD, a State Agency, in 2014. Since our inception, I have worked diligently with the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana, Pontchartrain-Maurepas Surge Consortium, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. I attended and traveled to countless meetings with these organizations, at my own personal expense, to develop and foster the constructive and beneficial relationships required of a new levee district. Below are some of the major issues of contention and concern that have developed throughout my three years as commissioner.”
1. An amendment was added to Act 303, which created the STLDCD unfunded, that allowed the Parish and others to continue with projects which by law were delegated to the levee board.
2. HB-259, which would have allowed for other avenues of funding, was reported to the Senate as not supported without the knowledge of the entire board.
3. Omission of information in proposals to the board due to competitive projects.
4. The STPG and the Chairman of STLDCD violated the terms and conditions of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the state, the parish and the STLDCD, limiting full participation in the consultant selection and allowing for undue influence and control by the Parish over the levee board and the project.
The duties and powers of the St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District were conferred by law. ACT 303 states: ‘The management and control of the District shall be vested in the board of commissioners of the St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District. In addition to any other powers and duties provided by law, the primary duties of the board shall be to establish, construct, operate or maintain flood control works related to hurricane protection, tidewater flooding, saltwater intrusion, and conservation.’
STPG continues to plan, fund and execute projects identified by law to be the duties of the Levee Board. These actions, without consultation or involvement of the Levee Board, continue to undermine and neuter the Levee Board’s authority and mission.
I found myself in conflict with the ongoing actions of the Parish and our Levee Board. Both lacked transparency and have failed to perform their duties in compliance with established procedures. Due to these issues stated above (and others), I could no longer, with a clear conscience, continue as a Commissioner of the St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District and resigned my Commission effective January 22, 2018.”