During an open executive session, the Ascension Parish Council voted to uphold the firing of former Parish Utilities Director Bill Depew during the council meeting held Dec. 1. Depew was terminated in early October after a letter was published on the online website, The Pelican Post, that questioned Parish administration leadership. According to the human resources department, the media policy had been violated. "When you have a leader of a complex organization who is in the position, because he and his family are “Good People” is not the correct formula, something has to change," Depew said in his post. The former employee's attorney, Jill Craft, argued that Depew was expressing his opinion, which is not a violation of the policy. "My client wrote an editorial," Craft said. "The last time I checked this is still America. Under the laws of this country, he has every right to write an editorial to a newspaper. It's his opinion and it's his right." Craft explained that the policy refers to statements made at the media's request, but Depew was not approached by the media, instead simply made a comment on his own behalf. Ascension Parish Chief Administration Officer Ken Dawson said he believes Depew should not be reinstated and believes if he is rehired, could cause challenges. "If Mr. Depew comes back to work, I think that when you do something like that, I think you loose some trust of the people in the Parish," Dawson said. "I think that as a manager you have a responsibility to work through the terms. If he comes back I think there will be some challenges." In other news, Parish President Kenny Matassa announced that a new music festival would be held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in fall 2017. “When I took office, one of my priorities was to modernize Lamar-Dixon’s brand, and bring it in a new direction,” Matassa said. “The announcement of this show, plus the 2017 calendar, shows that we are succeeding in that mission.” Lamar-Dixon General Manager Kyle Rogers said that in 2015, Lamar-Dixon hosted 207 events. In 2016, the number rose to 308 events at the facility, despite the loss of the entire month of September when Lamar-Dixon served as an emergency relief center after the catastrophic August flood. Mark Miller, CEO of Pi Entertainment, which produces music festivals and halftime shows, said that his organization is working with Lamar-Dixon to bring a huge music festival to Ascension from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2017. “I walked the festival grounds with my two partners,” Miller said. “Our jaws dropped to the ground. None of us knew that a world-class, class-A facility existed here!” Miller said that his group plans on producing multiple festivals over the next five years, and would launch next year with a multi-stage event that would feature country rock, American music, Blue Grass, Southern rock, a very broad spectrum of music. “This area needs a win, and we’re hoping to deliver that for you,” he said. An ordinance was approved amending the Chapter Five of the Code of Ordinances pertaining to the prohibition on animal sales in restricted areas. Two ordinances were introduces, one to amend the zoning map to rezone Kenny's Rentals from Rural to Crossroad Commercial and another to revoke an existing 15 foot drainage servitude located across the middle of the properties of Joseph Sanchez, Patrick Sanchez, Carolyn Parent, Barbara Young, John Sanchez and Beatrice Bourque.