Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni pledges additional review steps to accompany forensic audit of West Jefferson hospital deal _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Michael S. Yenni takes the oath of office as Jefferson Parish President on Jan. 6 as his wife Michelle Swanner Yenni looks on. The FBI has been investigating allegations that Yenni sent sexually explicit text messages to a 17-year-old. 

The Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday ratified most of the new department directors Parish President Mike Yenni appointed earlier this month.

Those approved were Parish Attorney Mike Power, Inspection and Code Enforcement Director Aimee Vallot, Security and Blight Eradication Director Gary Hargroder, Environmental Affairs Director Mike Lockwood, Transit Director Sharon Leader, Community Development Director Tamithia Shaw and Budget Director Victor LaRocca.

An eighth appointee, Emergency Management Director Joseph Valiente, was not considered Wednesday because he was out of town due to a prior obligation, Parish President Mike Yenni said. He will be put up for confirmation next month.

Power, Vallot, Hargroder, Lockwood, Leader, Shaw, LaRocca and Valiente are taking over departments that were headed by others under previous Parish President John Young, whom Yenni was sworn in to replace on Jan. 6. Yenni retained more than 30 other department heads appointed to their jobs by Young.

Vallot, Shaw and LaRocca all come over to the parish from the municipal government of Kenner, where Yenni was mayor for five years beginning in 2010. Lockwood arrives after most recently working with an engineering firm that often contracts with Kenner and Jefferson.

Hargroder was a lieutenant with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. Valiente once commanded the New Orleans Police Department's special events division, and Leader recently spent a year as a disaster recovery analyst for the city of New Orleans.

Also on Wednesday, the council approved reviving two "executive assistant" positions that Young had eliminated from parish government after taking office in 2010.

When hired, one executive assistant will focus on East Bank matters, and the other on West Bank ones. But this year's budget provides for filling only one of those positions, said Keith Conley, Yenni's top aide.

Conley said it was not yet known who was being considered for the first executive assistant slot. That position is distinct from the administrative assistants Yenni appointed in mid-December to oversee clusters of departments, such as former Kenner Police Chief Steve Caraway and ex-parish schools superintendent Diane Roussel.