Parish CAO Jerry Graves Jr. resigns

Dec 2nd, 2013 | By | Category: News
Jerry Graves Jr., St. Bernard Parish’s Chief Administrative Officer, is leaving parish government for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).

Jerry Graves Jr., St. Bernard Parish’s Chief Administrative Officer, is leaving parish government for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).

After nearly a decade of service to St. Bernard Parish Government, Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Jerry Graves Jr. has turned in his resignation. He will be starting a new job in New Orleans next week.

Council members were told about Graves’ departure at the Nov. 19 parish council meeting. Finance Director Ross Gonzales will take over the position in the interim, and a permanent replacement will be made next year.

“I can’t imagine I would fill that spot before the end of the year with the holidays,” Peralta said Wednesday.

Graves, 32, has accepted a position as the Director of Land Stewardship with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), in part helping to decide what to do with abandoned, empty and undeveloped lots that still remain in Orleans Parish following Hurricane Katrina.

“I’m really excited,” Graves said. “It’s some of the stuff we’ve done here (in St. Bernard), like the Lot-Next-Door program, the (land) auctions and what we are starting to do with the bundles of properties.”

While abandoned properties from the Louisiana Land trust in St. Bernard were turned over to the St. Bernard Parish government, NORA controls all those properties in New Orleans and has its own governing board.

“It really was a good opportunity,” said Graves, who has a doctorate in urban studies. “I felt the timing was right; it’s something that really excites me, and it was hard to pass up.”

Graves started working at the St. Bernard Parish government in 2004, following in the footsteps of his father Jerry Graves Sr., who worked at the parish for 15 years. After leaving for a year-and-a-half to work in the private sector, Graves returned to take the St. Bernard Chief Administrative Officer position last year.

“It’s a family legacy, as well as an organization that has always meant a lot to me,” he said. “I have put my blood, sweat and tears into the organization.”

Graves said he will miss his colleagues and friends when he begins the new job.

“I’ve been through three councils, three administrations, Hurricane Katrina – literally I was here in the (government) building during Katrina,” he said. “I’m going to miss everybody.”

Peralta said he will look at both internal and external candidates to fill Graves’ spot, adding that Gonzales did not express an interest to fill the position full-time.

“There are several people within the administration I’m looking at and will also consider people from the outside. I’m going to take my time because this is an extremely important position. It’s a lot of responsibility and requires a great deal of dedication and a lot of hours,” Peralta said. “In my absence, the Chief Administrative Officer becomes Parish President. It has to be somebody I feel very confident in.” He said a committee will likely handle interviewing candidates.

Peralta wished Graves good luck in his new position and praised him for his hard work.

“It’s going to be a major loss to parish government,” Peralta said. “St. Bernard is a better place because of the job and dedication by Dr. Graves.”

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.