SLFPA-E Recognizes Wittie, Authorizes Settlements And Safety Upgrade Contract, Approves U.S. Geological Survey At Monthly Meeting

Commissioner Luettich, President Hassinger, Vice President Estopinal, and Commissioners McHugh and Kemp recognize former Commissioner Wittie

NEW ORLEANS – The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E), which sets policy and provides oversight to levee operations in East Jefferson, St. Bernard Parish, and all of the east bank of New Orleans, met for its regular monthly meeting yesterday, Thursday, January 21, 2016.

         The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution recognizing founding commissioner Louis Wittie for his commitment and contributions to SLFPA-E and the citizens of Louisiana during his tenure on the Authority. As a founding member of the Authority, Wittie's over 40 years of professional experience and expertise proved to be an invaluable resource for SLFPA-E and its member levee districts during the construction of the $14 billion Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, SLFPA-E reps said.

         While on the Board, Wittie chaired the Operations Committee and served as Secretary of the Board from 2010 until 2015. Originally appointed in 2007, Wittie served for eight years and is not eligible for a third term. Wittie is employed as chief engineer at Barber Brothers Contracting Co. LLC, an engineering firm with offices across Louisiana that specializes in highway and heavy civil construction.

         In related business, the Board of Commissioners recognized Vice President Stephen Estopinal for his service to the board as President from 2014 until 2015.

         SLFPA-E President Joe Hassinger said, "Commissioner Wittie and Vice President Estopinal are invaluable professional resources for the Authority. As a founding member, Mr. Wittie has put in countless hours over the years to protect the citizens in our jurisdiction and I would like to extend my own personal thanks. Mr. Estopinal's leadership during his time as president is second to none and I look forward to continuing to work alongside him."

         The Board of Commissioners also elected G. Paul Kemp as Secretary.

         After convening in executive session to discuss settlements in the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, et al vs. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC, et al litigation, the SLFPA-E Board of Commissioners passed a motion to adopt its Executive Counsel's settlement recommendations. The settlement funds, which will be received from two separate defendants, will be deposited into an account designated for coastal restoration projects.

         SLFPA-E Vice President Stephen Estopinal said, "I am pleased to see that we are continuing to reach settlement agreements with various defendants in this litigation. These settlement monies will be used to directly counteract coastal land loss and degradation that puts residents at risk from flooding."

         The Board of Commissioners also passed a resolution authorizing the award of a contract to DQSI, LLC, a technology and engineering firm based in Covington, for the fabrication and installation of ladders, catwalks, and work platforms at the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Surge Barrier. Upon completion, the project will allow for increased and safer movement around the Surge Barrier for crews performing maintenance and upgrades.

         In related business, the Board of Commissioners also passed a resolution authorizing an agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for the operation and maintenance of gaging stations and velocity meters at the GIWW East Closure Sector Gate, Caernarvon Sector Gate, Bayou Dupre Sector Gate and the Seabrook Complex. Under the agreement, the USGS will provide equipment repair and replacement, quality assurance, control, and dissemination of data through the USGS website.

         SLFPA-E President Joe Hassinger said, "I am pleased that SLFPA-E is moving forward with these two crucial projects. Additional safety features at the IHNC Surge Barrier will facilitate safe maintenance practices and ensure that one of our most important flood protection structures is kept in top shape. Additionally, the data collected from the velocity meters and gaging stations will prove an invaluable resource to SLFPA-E and the public."

         The SLFPA-E’s mission is to ensure the physical and operational integrity of the regional flood risk management system, and works with local, regional, state and federal partners to plan, design and construct projects that will reduce the probability and risk of flooding for the residents within the agency's jurisdiction.

         The Board of Commissioners includes Lambert J. Hassinger, President; Stephen Estopinal, Vice President; Jefferson Angers, Treasurer; G. Paul Kemp Secretary; Wilton P. Tilly III P.E.; Kelly McHugh; Richard A. Luettich, Jr.; Tyrone Ben



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