Tax officer announces impending retirement
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — St. Mary Parish soon will have a new sales and use tax administrator as the current holder of that position, Barry Dufrene, said he will retire effective May 31, citing a possible run for city council as one of the reasons.
While the announcement was somewhat made public during Monday’s Council of Governments meeting when Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte offered a resolution thanking Dufrene for his service to the parish sales and use tax office (the resolution passed unanimously), Dufrene said after Monday’s meeting that now was a good time for him to retire.
“I’ve been there for 32 years,” he said. “There’s very competent people coming behind me.”
Also, though, he has a desire to run for city council.
Dufrene lives in the same district as Morgan City Councilman Larry Bergeron, and if Bergeron follows through on comments he has made publicly that he would run for mayor, the council seat for that district would be open.
“I couldn’t do that being sales tax collector,” he said. “I’m at the right age, 52, and just — everything’s just kind of coming together.”
Dufrene, who hasn’t made a formal announcement to the Parish Council declaring his intentions to retire, said that his last day in the office would be April 30.
He then will take the next month using his accumulated vacation time.
During Monday’s meeting, he expressed his happiness to have worked with members of the Council of Governments and members of his office during his career.
He said the sales tax department has been a good job for him.
“It’s given me a lot of opportunities,” he said. “I’ve got to meet and work (with) a lot of wonderful people. A lot of times we've had to fight about state collection of local sales taxes. I believe that local does a much better job.”
When he took over as sales and use tax director around 2000, he was only the second person to hold the office, following Thaddeus Marcell, who had served as director since the office’s inception in 1966.
While the parish council must choose who the next sales and use tax administrator is, Dufrene already has endorsed assistant director Jeff LaGrange as his replacement.
“He’s been working hard to do that,” Dufrene said. “(He’s) doing a good job of learning the things he needs to take care of. It’s (not just) knowing the tax laws. (It’s) being able to … manage and talk to people. I tell people this all the time … I don’t write the songs. I just have to sing them. You may not like the songs but I got to sing them.”