JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni released a statement Monday after three more parish officials added their names to the growing list of people calling on him to resign.
Following is a news release sent by the parish public information officer:
Parish President Mike Yenni advised members of the Jefferson Parish Council that he will not resign his elected office noting that "the incident at the center of this allegation is personal" and, in no way, does it "impact my ability to govern."
Said Yenni in his correspondence, "I have read with humility your request for my resignation. While I understand your position and your concerns, I have and will continue to dutifully perform the obligations of the Office of Parish President."
"As I noted in my statement, my actions are regrettable, and I am penitent. I have accepted responsibility for my poor judgment, and I apologized publicly to all parties involved." Yenni reiterated "I did not violate any laws, I have not been contacted by any investigatory agency, especially the FBI, regarding this allegation."
Yenni added, "I want to put this in the proper perspective. I have been true to the oath that I have taken. I stated clearly that I never abused or misused my powers as a public official and there has been no misuse of tax dollars or public assets. And, I will work harder than ever to prove that good can rise from a bad decision. Because out of struggle comes strength, and I am prepared to prove how strong I will be when fighting for Jefferson Parish. Therefore, while I respect your concern, I am not resigning from the Office of Parish President. The allegations in no way impact my ability to effectively govern or manage the day-to-day operations of Parish government."
Yenni, who was not Parish President at the time of the incident, asked parish council members to allow him the opportunity to "separate (his) personal challenge from (his) public responsibility." Yenni urged this is not a time for "a rush to judgement."
Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer told FOX 8 that he, Assessor Thomas Capella and Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich joined a list of parish officials who are calling on Yenni to leave office amid news he sent what he described as "improper texts" to a 17-year-old male last year.
All of the parish's seven council members, as well as Sheriff Newell Normand, have also called on Yenni to resign.
Councilman Ben Zahn released a statement after Yenni refused to step down.
"By confirming the allegations that he engaged in this behavior, he lost the faith of the people of Jefferson. Nothing short of his prompt resignation will allow our Parish and his family to move on," Zahn wrote.
Late Monday, Westwego Mayor John "Johnny" Shaddinger Jr. confirmed that he and the entire Westwego council agreed on a "verbal resolution" asking Yenni to step down.
"Our five council members and myself agreed and will be sending the resolution in support of Mike Yenni's resignation to parish officials tomorrow," Shaddinger said.
After meeting with his staff, Yenni walked out of the governmental building with his wife by his side speaking publicly for the first time. You can watch the entire encounter below.