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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on May 8, 2007 9:54 PM.

Choices in Recovery was the previous entry in this blog.

Are Term Limits an Insult? is the next entry in this blog.

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Lafourche Parish Councilmen Propose Changes to Charter

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Two changes are being proposed to the Lafourche Parish Home Rule Charter. One doesn't go far enough, the other goes too far, and no one is talking about a third that should be considered also.

Councilman Michael Matherne, District 3, has proposed term limits for council members and the parish president. He wants to limit them to four consecutive terms of four years. After which they must sit out one term before they can run again.

In a rare show of unity, Councilman Daniel Lorraine, District 9, and Parish President Charlotte Randolph both disagree on term limits. Lorraine has been on the council for 24 years.

In an interview with the Daily Comet, Matherne said that Lafourche Parish residents approved term limits for state legislators by an overwhelming 76% and he believes residents would do the same for local offices.

I applaud Matherne's proposal and I hope it is presented to voters on the October ballot. My only concern is that it is still too lax. Sixteen years is a long time to serve on a parish council. Even better would be to reduce it to two consecutive terms.

If someone feels that they are doing such a wonderful job as a councilmen after eight years, why not run for parish president (although I fully support term limits for the parish president, it is not needed as badly since no one has been able to get themselves reelected to a second term as parish president).

Being totally unscientific, and too low a number to draw any real conclusion, a poll on the Daily Comet's website has 16 votes for a three-term limit, 3 for the proposed 4 term limit, and 3 for no term limit.

The proposed change that goes way overboard would give parish councilmen the ability to talk directly to parish employees and contractors. This change would seriously threaten the separation of legislation and executive powers between the council and president and harking back to the days of the old police jury system.

It is no surprise that Lorraine is a supporter of this proposal. Such it make it to the voters, I hope that it is soundly defeated.

The change that no one is talking about is changing the make up of the parish council.

The number one issue with the parish council is that there is not one legislative member who has to answer to the entire parish. This means that each councilman only needs to worry about the issues that matter to their district and not worry one bit about how it affects the rest of the parish.

In my article, “Change the Lafourche Parish Home Rule Charter? You Bet!”, I have gone into greater detail on what I think the make up of the parish council should be. Until Lafourche Parish has councilmen who must truly represent the parish and not just their district, you will always have the animosity that exists in Raceland today.

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