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Mike Yenni sits in his office during his final day as Jefferson Parish President at the Joseph S. Yenni Building in Jefferson, La., Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020.

Mike Yenni is preparing to take over as the top deputy for Jefferson Parish’s Registrar of Voters, marking a return to government after deciding not to seek re-election in 2019 as parish president following a sexting scandal in which he admitted to sending “improper” texts to a teenage boy.

News of Yenni’s hiring, which was first reported by WWL-TV, garnered mixed reactions from Parish Council members, with some expressing outrage at the decision and others saying they trusted Registrar Dennis DiMarco’s judgement.

Council member Deano Bonano said Yenni’s hiring opened old wounds, describing it as a “slap in the face” to the people of Jefferson Parish.

“I’m appalled that the Registrar of Voters would make such a controversial hire without even consulting the Parish Council,” said Bonano, who previously worked as an aide to Council member Chris Roberts, a foe of Yenni’s during his administration.

The Parish Council is in charge of appointing the registrar of voters but has little control over how he runs the office. He can only be removed by the State Board of Election Supervisors. Bonano noted that the Parish Council voluntarily supplements the salaries of the registrar and his chief deputy.

Yenni, who previously served as the mayor of Kenner, was elected parish president in 2015. Less than a year later, it was revealed that while serving as Kenner's mayor and campaigning for parish president, he sent sexually suggestive text messages to a 17-year-old high school student.?

The revelations led to a failed recall effort, and while no criminal charges were filed and Yenni publicly apologized, the scandal doomed his chances at running for a second term.

Council member Scott Walker said, “I don’t think a disgraced former parish president like (Yenni) should be welcomed back into our government buildings in any position.”

“It makes me question the decision making in the registrar’s office,” Walker added.

Council member Marion Edwards struck a different tone. He said he respected DiMarco and trusts that he thought the decision through.

“I’m all about rehabilitation,” Edwards, a former judge, added. “I’m hoping (Yenni) has gotten his life straight and can live a normal life.”

Council member Hans Liljeberg also said the hiring didn’t concern him. “I think Dennis DiMarco runs a good office,” Liljeberg said.

Neither DiMarco nor Yenni responded to a request for comment. Council member Jennifer Van Vrancken declined to comment.?

In an interview, Yenni’s former campaign manager, Greg Buisson, said that Yenni has spent the past three days shadowing the registrar’s current deputy, Phil Trupiano, and will spend the next two weeks training with state officials.

Buisson said Yenni has experience working with the registrar’s office, and pointed to his efforts to open a satellite registrar’s office in Kenner when he was mayor.

Since leaving office, Yenni has worked as consultant and has been deployed in his role as a U.S. Navy Reserve sailor.?

Walker, who sparred with Buisson during last year’s campaign, said he thinks Buisson is trying to “rehab” Yenni’s image to try to get him back into office.

Buisson said Yenni told him he has no interest in public office.

“This is just him trying to make a living,” Buisson said.

Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter, @blakepater.