Kenner businessman Brian Brennan expected to fill soon-to-be-vacant City Council seat _lowres

Keith Conley stepped down from his Kenner City Council seat earlier this year to become the chief operating officer of Jefferson Parish's government. The race to replace him is heating up, as a three-day qualifying period for the Nov. 8 election opens July 20.

The Kenner City Council’s appointment Thursday of an interim replacement for a councilman who is resigning to work for Jefferson Parish did not follow proper procedure and must be done over for it to take effect, the Secretary of State’s Office said Friday.

Kenner’s city attorney said he believes the appointment was valid because of provisions in the municipality’s charter. But Michael Power said Kenner officials would have no problem ratifying the appointment at a later session if necessary.

The council on Thursday picked local businessman Brian Brennan to temporarily fill in for at-large member Keith Conley after Conley steps down to become the top aide to Mike Yenni, who is resigning as Kenner’s mayor and will be sworn in as Jefferson Parish president Jan. 6.

But the Secretary of State’s Office said it had not received Conley’s resignation when the council appointed Brennan, prompting Kenner resident Richard Brown to file a complaint Friday.

To comply with election law, Brennan cannot be appointed until Conley’s resignation letter is received in Baton Rouge, Secretary of State’s Office spokeswoman Meg Casper said. It had not arrived by Friday. The council, therefore, will have to ratify Brennan’s appointment again at a future meeting.

The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Jan. 7, but it could hold a special session sooner if it wishes.

Casper said this kind of issue is relatively common statewide. “We work with communities all the time to make sure they get it right,” she said.

Brown objected to Brennan’s appointment during Thursday’s council meeting. He said he believed Brennan would be an excellent interim member but that the appointment was being made too early.

Power countered that Conley’s resignation had been signed and notarized and would be sent to the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday. He also noted that the appointment wouldn’t become effective until well after Conley’s resignation.

On Friday, Power added that measures similar to Brennan’s appointment don’t become offical actions under Kenner’s charter until about 17 days after they are approved.

Power said he hoped to straighten the matter out with the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday.