Stephen Saussy Candidate Bio


 

Why do you want to be an Alderman in Abita Springs?
  1. To contribute to the betterment of Abita for its citizens and guest. To set a standard for the NATION. For example: Why is it you have to submit a public information request for public records when they are “public records”? Isn’t it past due for electronic record availability? Why do you not know the credits and debits of the Town of Abita in real time?

Many ask how and what we do, but few ask WHY. I’m confident my experiences differentiate me from other candidates and that my knowledge in other areas will contribute to the betterment of the Town. My goal is for a SAFE, CLEAN, TRANSPARENT TOWN for all to live and enjoy. Why? Because everyone wants a clean, safe city or town to live, raise a family that is represented by an honest government. Being the size we are, and given the technology that is available, we should set the example for the rest of the Nation.

 

What three accomplishments in your personal, political, or professional career are you most proud of?
  1. My greatest personal accomplishment is my three hardworking and compassionate daughters. My oldest daughter is an MD. One of my twins is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and the other graduated Summa Cum Laude and is pursuing her post graduate degree.

 

  1. Politically, I’ve been an observer from the outside, learning and watching the incompetence for many years. Yes, there are political figures that mean well and hold a high standard. When I felt it was warranted to be involved I became involved. Addressing issues behind the scenes has worked best for me, because I didn’t have the time to get the public involved. I had a demanding career that required extensive travel. Issues that were ethically wrong, legally wrong, etc.… I addressed and got involved in. Now, I pursue a position I’ve longed to pursue—being a part of our government and displaying what a government representative should be. I have the time and motivation that the job requires. It is time to bring forward my experiences and to better the lives of all, our own and our visitors.

 

  1. My sales career began locally in 1992 and I progressed every year for 27 consecutive years. When you arrive at the director level, it isn’t about you but about managing, leadership, and elevating others.Sharing of my clinical knowledge, business acumen and my leadership helped propel a diverse sales team. Helping the team understand the market we competed in and the outcomes of competitors, enabled us to differentiate ourselves to clinicians, administrators and patients. Patricia Yoder-Wise quoted, “EMPOWERMENT EMPHASIZES THE NOTION THAT POWER GROWS WHEN SHARED”.We listened to one another to the point that we heard one another and it paid dividends. We are not just divided in Washington D.C., we are divided locally. Having held various positions over the years within various organizations, I will work tirelessly to inspire each Alderman to be more involved in the day to day activities of Abita, to create both the nature and frequency of communication with the citizens, and to work with those less fortunate to improve their own properties. Being fully transparent for all to see but more importantly for all to understand. We will empower the people with what we share.

 

What is your vision for Abita Springs at the end of your four year term?

At the beginning of my first day, I can only hope that the newly elected Mayor will embrace transparency of the Town’s finances. We are a town of approximately 2900 residents. Abita Springs, under the right leadership, could set an example for the United States of how a city government should conduct itself and give its citizens—the tax payers—the dignity and respect they so deserve. Many Politicians act as if they are beyond reproach, that their decision is best for all. It is my goal that we no longer have an administration that fails the people of Abita. This means restoring communication between the government and the people we serve and promising transparency in all that we do.

 

What will you do to improve and enhance the quality of life for Abita Springs’ residents, businesses, and visitors?

First fight for transparency. As stated above, , I will work tirelessly in getting Abita Springs, up and running with a daily transparent overview of the Towns fiscal status. Clean (just not from debris, but pot holes repaired, etc.…), and work with those less fortunate to improve their own properties. Long before entering the curve on Hwy 59 into Abita, You will notice, you’re arriving in a Town that not only talks about being clean but practices what it preaches. Being fully transparent for all to see, but more importantly for all to understand.

 

List several projects in which you have had significant impact and how you affected the outcome.

Many years ago our local fire district was spiraling downward at a rapid pace. Equipment wasn’t being purchased, morale was low, and there was talks of a possible merger with another district just to survive. Former board members didn’t possess the skills warranted to turn on a fire hydrant much less run a fire department. As difficult as it was, I began the process of eliminating those, whose practices were detrimental to the department. I ask every citizen to visit with our local fireman and ask them to what degree, has Jay Hawkins, currently running for Alderman, turn the fire department around for the positive.

 

Please rank your top three priorities for this new term and outline your plan for implementing these priorities.
  1. Create a master plan outlining priorities with a clear plan to address each identified priority: Sewer, Pud densities, and fiscal transparency. This includes having the financial figures public in order to peel the layers of redundancy back, address the irresponsible spending, and assure all are contributing their part as employees of the tax payers.
  2. Why are the Alderman not more visible and active on projects for all to see and witness the Town improving? Establish such a team to work on different projects and solicit to the citizens for their input and their contributions. Communicate with the citizens the Town’s goals. One of the greatest attractions and businesses is the Abita Brew Pub. Why isn’t there ample visitor parking.
  3. Work to eliminate blight.

 

What changes, if any, do you support regarding new rules, procedures, or ordinances and why?

The citizens of Abita must become more involved to decide the future of Abita and steps to get there. I believe if administration and the citizens are sailing their vessels parallel to one another, we can achieve a greater amount in a shorter period of time. Synergy will be achieved, with a significant amount of support from one another. As an owner of a large parcel of land in the Historic district, I’m very concerned about preservation while progressing forward. My personal hope is that Abita remains substantially residential and the tax dollars of businesses are not needed for growth. I realize we must have the essentials, as well as, attractions for our citizens and our visitors, but at what cost to disrupting Abita’s uniqueness.

 

Other than raising property millage rates, what plans, if any, do you have to increase town revenues in ways that are consistent with economic growth and a healthy, prosperous, livable, and safe community?

Great Question: These figures may not be exact but this is what I was supplied. Property mileage rates are to be questioned. Currently the total tax payers is approximately 1700. The Gross tax revenue is $350,655.06. Abita Springs total millage is 15.860. The majority of our property tax revenue is residential; We can increase the number of homes, we can increase the property mileage rate, we can increase the number of businesses, we can entertain annexing greater land mass of both residential and business to increase tax revenue or we can fight to increase what percentage we are currently receiving in property taxes. With the current gross tax revenue of $350,655 that equates to approximately $250.00 /house hold. I know from my own property tax, that I contribute approximately 7% to the town and the remaining 93% to the Parish. WHY???

 

What changes, if any, will you recommend to the Mayor and other Aldermen that may reduce expenses while maintaining or enhancing the quality of life in Abita Springs?
  1. I don’t have all the answers to how the monies are currently being spent but I’ve witnessed the prolonged completion of various projects. To those who witnessed the Town Hall renovations and the speed at which they were being done, know that the projects could have been sent out for bid to not only have them completed quicker, but also more financially conservative.
  2. Small things like electrical usage: are we using the best lighting, are we using excessive lighting. What are we paying for a private service to maintain the cemetery Vs having our own maintenance department maintain it and other green areas? I haven’t confirmed the exact figure but I have heard as much as $35,000/annually. Rather than having to submit public records request this is information that should be accessible via the internet for all to see and make recommendations.
  3. What is our administrations’ rapport with the Parish Government and how could they be of assistance if we had a better relationship. Again, the percentage of our current tax dollars that the Town receives could be increased (may require a vote). If my calculations are correct and we doubled the percentage of what the town receives versus what the parish receives of our current property tax dollars, then that would be equivalent to having an additional 1700 homes paying what they are paying now, overnight.

 

Do you have any recommendations for changes or modifications to current zoning and planning laws and decisions that will ensure that as the town grows our cultural and historical significance will not be compromised?

I’m ignorant of all the ordinances at present but they should be reviewed and considered in composing the master plan. Are we under or over restricted?

 

What are your thoughts and plans in the Development of a Master Plan?

We must have a minimum of a five-year plan in front of us that is updated and extended out annually.

 

What environmental issues do you consider important to Abita Springs?

The sewage system is a priority. Newer subdivisions and how they may negatively disrupt the natural flow of water. Infrastructure issues that will need to be addressed before additional subdivisions are built.

 

What else would you like to share with voters to help them make their decision?

I am a native of New Orleans, and my family has been in Louisiana since the 1800’s. My fraternal grandfather, Walker Saussy, married Virginia Parker, Daughter of Governor John M. Parker. My mother, father, and wife are also natives of New Orleans. The Parker/ Saussy descendants are embedded in the culture of the State of Louisiana, and the culture plays a significant role in who I am today. I am also the father of three daughters. As I mentioned in a previous question, my greatest personal accomplishment to date is to have three inspiring young daughters. The eldest received her Medical Degree, May 2017, Louisiana State University, School of Medicine, the second received her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree August 2018, Vanderbilt University, and the third, twin of the second, Summa Cum Laude, University of Alabama (please don’t hold against me) is pursuing a post graduate degree.

My teenage years through high school were spent on the Mississippi Gulfcoast. I returned to New Orleans after completing Paramedic School in 1987. My Paramedic degree provided the funding to complete my undergraduate studies. I began a career in the medical sales industry in 1992. I’ve been infatuated with the clinical aspect of medicine since the age of twenty-two, when I began teaching ACLS to physicians, nurses and paramedics. Since then, I have been intrigued with medical technology. My first resuscitation involved an elderly gentleman, lying apneic and pulseless in Ventricular Fibrillation, defibrillated twice and literally within minutes the gentleman was speaking and wanting to return to his previous activity.

My relationships within the medical sales industry grew as I sought to possess the traits that I believe build an enduring relationship—honesty, curiosity, and support. My time in the field as a paramedic, medical salesman, law enforcement officer, and forensic death Investigator have taught me how to listen, learn, love and lead. These characteristics/attributes will exude as an Alderman.

Outside of family and work, I enjoy my hobbies—many of which are not just the average hobby. Many years ago, I attended a Police Academy night program. Upon completion of the Academy, I accepted a position as a Reserve Deputy. The time devoted to law enforcement is in the evenings, on weekends and holidays in an unpaid volunteer capacity. My second public hobby is participating in charitable events. My current charitable event is Hogs for the Cause. Hogs for the Cause is quickly becoming one of the nation’s premiere fundraisers for children with pediatric brain cancer. In 2017, teams raised 1.3 million. Flying is my childhood passion that I still participate in, 35 years later. My “brain dead” hobbies include gardening, wood working and fishing/hunting.

Just reflecting back on my career and the experiences and opportunities I’ve been provided, I can say that I am one of the most fortunate people in the world. I am blessed that I’ve been a part of something that has changed the lives of millions. Saving lives, improving lives, witnessing lives change for the better—while simultaneously improving the results of the clinicians treating patients—has been of great reward.

Thank you for your time. I ask for your support, your prayers and to “Believe in Abita”. “Believe in Stephen”. I can be reached at 504-232-6324 (c) or by email:stephensaussy@att.net. I look forward to hearing from you, hearing of your ideas, your concerns and how you may contribute.