Donald Burgess, who came in third in the primary election for Livingston Parish president and subsequently endorsed No. 2 finisher Layton Ricks for the office, reiterated Thursday that Ricks has not offered him a job.
“I’m 70 years old. Why would I want a job?” asked Burgess, who told The Advocate on the day he endorsed Ricks that he had not been promised a job in a Ricks administration.
However, Burgess said Thursday he would not sign a letter, as requested by the Grimmer campaign, saying he wouldn’t accept a job with the parish in the next four years.
“Why would I agree to do that?” Burgess asked.
“I was not promised any kind of a job, but I love this parish with everything I’ve got,” he said. “If I can help this parish, I will do it no matter what Mr. Grimmer thinks.”
Jay Connaughton, spokesman for the Grimmer campaign, said Burgess should put in writing that he won’t accept a job with the parish.
A news release from the campaign said the challenge came after reports surfaced that Burgess was offered a job by Ricks in exchange for Burgess’ endorsement.
“Simply put, any taxpayer-funded job Donald Burgess takes will be tainted,” Connaughton said.
Burgess formerly held the job of director of planning for Livingston Parish.
The salary for that job has historically been $80,000 per year, according to the Grimmer news release.
Burgess said he is upset by allegations from the Grimmer campaign that he was promised a job in return for his endorsement of Ricks in the Nov. 19 runoff election.
“I wouldn’t be part of that,” he said.
He said he and Ricks didn’t discuss a job at all in their meeting, but added that he would be “honored” to work for the parish in the future if he could be useful
“There are a lot of problems in the parish,” he said.
Burgess said he is upset Grimmer attacked his integrity.
“I’ve treated Mike Grimmer with every bit of decency I could muster,” Burgess said. “When we were running, I never said one negative thing about him.”
Burgess said he doesn’t know why Grimmer is so upset about Burgess’ decision to back Ricks.
“He just appeared to be the person that is most in line with what I’ve been thinking,” Burgess said of Ricks. “That’s why I picked him.”
“I got beat,” Burgess said. “I’ve got every right in the world to pick my candidate. I don’t know why he is so upset about that.”
Burgess said he has told a lot people who supported him that he will back Ricks and has asked them to do so also.
Burgess received 15 percent of the vote in the Oct. 22 primary, while Grimmer received 45 percent and Ricks picked up 40 percent.