Donald Shea, who has been St. Tammany Parish’s Economic Development Director since 2013, was terminated Tuesday, Shea said.
Parish spokesman Ronnie Simpson confirmed Shea’s departure in a five-line statement.
“It has been decided that it is in the best interest of Parish Government that Mr. Shea pursue other opportunities,” the statement said. “We wish Mr. Shea all the best in his future endeavors.”
Reached by phone, Shea said he had been asked to resign and give two weeks’ notice. When he asked for a longer notice period to allow him to search for another job, that request was denied, he said, and so he chose to be terminated.
Simpson confirmed Shea’s account.
Late last year, Shea was the target of criticism from Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, an activist group, after emails furnished to a member of the group through a public-records request revealed him referring to some opponents of a proposed oil well as “loonies.” Concerned Citizens is opposed to the proposed well.
Simpson denied that the release of the emails had anything to do with Shea’s termination.
Before becoming St. Tammany’s economic development director in 2013, Shea was executive director of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Civic Council, a group of business, industry and academic representatives. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a master’s degree in city planning from Harvard University.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.