Indicted St. John Water Inspectors fight for their jobs back - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Indicted St. John Water Inspectors fight for their jobs back

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Behind closed doors, lawyers fought to get the two indicted St. John water inspectors' jobs back at the St. John Civil Service Commission meeting on  Thursday.

Danielle Roussel and Kevin Branch were indicted by a grand jury and charged with malfeasance in office and filing or maintaining false public records in relation to the criminal investigation into low chlorine levels and a potentially deadly amoeba found in the parish water system.

Outside the commission's executive session meeting, family members and co-workers of Kevin Branch of Danielle Roussel made clear that they believe the employees should have the chance to earn a pay check while awaiting trail.

Branch's cousin Dayna James said she was there, "to support him. Family is supposed to support each other and let him know that I'm with him, and representing my family... He needs to know that some body's here, that we love him, and he's not by himself."

The commission met to vote on whether to allow the administration to continue the suspension of the workers.  The commission did not get a second on a motion to vote on the issue, so it died.   

The fate of their jobs now lies with administration leaders.

One of those leaders could be Virgil Rayneri, the St. John Utilities Director, who the parish council asked to resign in light of criminal investigation findings that have not yet been made public.

Parish officials and lawyers involved are now under a gag order, and they have been told not to speak about the water issues with the ongoing case.

In October, Roussel's lawyer David Belfield told Fox 8, "I believe that they're being scape goated, because the real persons responsible for the St. John water quality, they're still working, they're still getting paid."

A trial date has not yet been set.

Early next week, the parish is scheduled to end the required 60 day chlorine burn put in place in order to rid the water system of the potentially deadly amoeba.

Click here for more information about the amoeba and chlorine burn from the parish.

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