Taffaro’s appointment makes farewell officialDec 13th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: News
Craig Taffaro attended his final council meeting as St. Bernard Parish President on December 6, as he is set to begin his new post, as the Head of Hazard Mitigation Programs and Recovery Coordination in the Office of Community Development.
Taffaro personally announced his departure for the state-level position during his final President’s Address.
“This will be my last Council meeting,” Taffaro said. “I’ve accepted an appointment from the Governor, and will be transitioning to that shortly.”
The announcement of Taffaro’s appointment came earlier that day, from Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, who welcomed the Parish President as a major asset.
“[Taffaro] has proven in his years leading St. Bernard parish’s recovery that he’s skilled at working with federal funds and cutting through red tape to get projects done,” Rainwater said. “We’re excited that he is bringing this expertise not only to our state Hazard Mitigation program, but also to helping local leaders access their own HMGP funds, so that all of Louisiana’s coastal communities will be better protected from damage in future storms.”
Taffaro’s work with the Office of Community Development and the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Unit is set to begin mid-December.
According to the department’s figures, as of December 1, the Disaster Recovery Unit’s Hazard Mitigation program has paid more than $362.8 million to 7,448 households, and more than $933.2 million in elevation grants have been paid to over 32,000 homeowners. Additionally, more than $138 million in Individual Mitigation Measures grants have been paid to more than 18,400 homeowners through the Road Home program, as well.
Taffaro has been a life long resident of St. Bernard. His administration has been hailed for the growth in the Parish. Taffaro has also been criticized for his management of FEMA funding, and some questions were raised about possible profiteering during the BP oil spill disaster.
For the final evening meeting of 2011, many fond memories and positive acts were rediscovered from the outgoing administration, including federal one hundred-year protection surrounding St. Bernard Parish, as well as the roads being rebuilt and the policies that made it possible for people to return to their homes or open their businesses.
Councilman Mike Ginart, District D, along with many on the Council, congratulated Taffaro for his work over the last four years, heading a Parish Government that made it’s way through recovery. Ginart applauded Taffaro’s administration for working with FEMA, as well as state officials from Baton Rouge and federal ones in Washington, to finding funding for St. Bernard’s four years of growth.
“We found a way to get at that money…and the biggest person responsible for that was Mr. Taffaro,” Ginart said. “You have made us all look good…and you’ve been called a lot of things, lazy was not one of them.”
Taffaro graciously thanked the Council for their service, the work they’d done together, and his family, for their own willingness to endure the trials and time sacrificed that comes with being a Parish President.
“The privilege to serve has indeed been a gift,” Taffaro said in his farewell address. “Thank you for your time, your support, and God bless St. Bernard Parish.”
Taffaro is to be succeeded in his current office by Parish President-elect Dave Peralta, who defeated Taffaro in the November 19 runoff election for that office.
As the head of hazard mitigation programs for the state of Louisiana, Taffaro will work with the millions of dollars in grants that office receives as well as Louisiana Land Trust (LLT) programs throughout the state.