Saying he’s been in the middle of all that Kenner’s government has done for the past decade, the chief aide to Mayor and Jefferson Parish President-elect Mike Yenni on Wednesday became the latest of several potential candidates to express an early interest in the job of succeeding his boss.
Michael Quigley, Kenner’s chief administrative officer, said he is “seriously thinking about” running to become the city’s next mayor after Yenni in January takes over the Jefferson presidency following his victory over four opponents in Saturday’s primary.
Quigley’s statement came a couple of days after City Council members Keith Conley, Maria DeFrancesch, Keith Reynaud and Jefferson Parish Justice of the Peace Kevin Centanni all confirmed they were strongly considering possible mayoral bids for an election that might not be held until November 2016.
Nonetheless, multiple Kenner political insiders on Wednesday said it’s possible Conley joins Yenni’s parish administration and passes on running for mayor.
Conley on Wednesday declined to delve into his plans but did make it a point to say he would not run against Quigley in an election.
Before joining Kenner’s city administration, Quigley said he spent 34 years in Jefferson Parish government. He was appointed director of the Jefferson’s Recreation Department by Yenni’s uncle, Michael J. Yenni Sr., who was parish president from 1987 until his death in 1995.
Quigley was then an executive assistant under former Parish Presidents Tim Coulon and Aaron Broussard before retiring about 9 1/2 years ago.
Soon after, Quigley became a deputy chief administrative officer under former Kenner Mayor Ed Muniz, whose CAO was Yenni. Yenni in 2010 then won an election to succeed Muniz, and he made Quigley his CAO, which is the second-highest position in the city’s administration.
“I’ve been involved in everything (since),” Quigley said while discussing his thoughts on a possible mayoral run. “There’s no question about it.”
For his part, the 39-year-old Yenni — who won a second term as Kenner mayor in 2014 — said, “Mike Quigley is an outstanding administrator, and that is why he is my chief administrative officer. I am sure he has to see where his future lies, and that’s something he needs to discuss with his family to see what’s in the best interest for him and them.”
Asked if he had given any thought to becoming the No. 2 in Yenni’s parish administration, Quigley said he wasn’t interested.
“I retired from the parish president’s office,” Quigley, 63, said. “Why would I go back?”
Yenni will be inaugurated as parish president on Jan. 6. It is expected Yenni would resign as Kenner’s mayor shortly before that date, and whoever is the City Council chairman at that time will replace him on a temporary basis.
Councilmen Dominick Impastato and Michael Sigur this week said they are seeking to fill that role as interim mayor.
Meanwhile, in talking about the possibility of running to succeed Yenni on a permanent basis, Conley, DeFrancesch, Reynaud and Centanni spoke about how their civic involvement would make them good candidates if they chose to enter the race.
If Conley ultimately opts to go to parish government, he will do so after having been a councilman, clerk of court and city attorney in Kenner. He was at Yenni’s side throughout virtually all of the mayor’s seven-month campaign for the parish presidency.