Acting Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson, who served as Mary Roper’s first assistant before Roper was fired, is among 16 candidates vying to fill the position.

But she faces a potential roadblock in that she is not considered a full-time employee because she is retired and classified as part time. In her cover letter, she said she works full-time hours and “intend(s) to continue to do so should I be selected as Parish Attorney.”

The parish attorney is the top lawyer for city-parish government. The Metro Council ultimately will make the choice to fill the position after applicants are vetted by a search committee made up of industry professionals and council members.

Although Batson may be the most well-known candidate for the job among Metro Council members, several others among the 16 candidates are known to council members for their work or other reasons.

Other candidates for the post include: Michael Adams, principal of Regional Receivership Group; Lon Norris, Baton Rouge City Court administrator; Jack Whitehead, a lawyer and CPA; Marston Fowler, an attorney for the state Office of Juvenile Justice and a former chairman of the Capital Area Transit System Board of Directors; Bryan Jeansonne, who sits on the Baton Rouge Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; Bridgette Richard Jamison, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry lobbyist and legislative counsel; Yashica Phelps Bradford, private practice; Vercelle Fiffie, private practice; Joell Keller, Edgen Group, based in Houston; Jerry Pepper, Couhig Partners; Jesse Clarence Brown, private practice; Mitchell D. Dickson, associate at Grand Law Firm; Bruce W. Boudreaux, Fitzpatrick and Burnette, New Orleans; Elton Heron, private practice; and Carlos. D. Prudhomme, assistant defender for Caddo Parish Indigent Defenders Office and private practice, Shreveport.

Denham Springs city attorney stepping down

The city attorney for Denham Springs has resigned the post she’s held for the past seven years.

Paeton Burkett announced this week that she is stepping down to take a new job as a personal injury attorney with the Gordon McKernan Law Firm in Baton Rouge.

She has been the city attorney since 2008 but worked part time and as a contractor since 2003. In recent years, she has represented Denham Springs in a number of legal matters, including a Christmas light display featuring an extended middle finger atop a woman’s home and the return of campaign signs taken down by a city worker that mocked former Gov. Edwin Edwards for being a “crook.” She also has counseled the city during a period of development and expansion south of Interstate 12.

Recently, she also drew up a municipal food truck ordinance, reached out to the state for advice on possible limits on the power of lame-duck city councils and testified during a predisciplinary hearing for Police Department leadership.

Mayor Gerard Landry said this week the city was interviewing candidates to find a replacement.

Burkett said she decided to leave due to a long-held interest in practicing personal injury law.

Livingston Parish chief ready for second term

Following up on a promise he made at last year’s State of the Parish address, Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks officially announced this week he will seek a second term.

Ricks said he is looking forward to continuing his efforts to improve the parish’s infrastructure, maintain financial stability and attract industry to Livingston.

“This election is about keeping our great parish moving in the right direction,” Ricks said.

Ricks has drawn no challengers thus far, despite rumblings last year that then-council Chairman Ricky Goff had set his sights on the parish’s top post.

Councilman Jim Norred, of Watson, has drawn an early challenger, though.

Garry “Frog” Talbert, a fuel distributor and owner of Magnolia Plaza Truck Stop, announced his intention to seek the District 2 seat.

“It’s time we have a councilman that is part of the solution and not part of the problem,” Talbert said, adding that it is important for a councilman to be able to work with the parish president.

Talbert said his business experience and service on the board for Recreation District 2 have given him an understanding of the people and their concerns.

Advocate staff writers Rebekah Allen, Steve Hardy and Heidi Kinchen contributed to this article.