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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on October 30, 2009 3:08 PM.

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Lafource Parish Council Gets it Wrong. Again.

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Once again the Lafourche Parish Council gets it wrong. After 33 years of having a Council-President form of government, they still think Lafourche Parish is using a Police Jury system, like our neighbors in Assumption Parish.

At its regularly scheduled meeting on October 27, 2009, the council decided to push for an amendment to the parish charter that would reduce from seven to six, the number of council votes needed to fire parish department heads.

The proposition, heavily pushed by District 9 Councilman Daniel Lorraine, would make it even easier for the council, which is a legislative body, to encroach on the duties of the parish president, who is the administrator of the parish. This would, in effect, change the parish government structure to a police jury system in every way but name.

As a quick Cliff's Notes lesson, under a police jury system, each district is overseen by a police juror who has full administrative authority over the work done in their district. They can have projects started and stopped without having to consult with any of their fellow police jurors.

This also means every parish employee has multiple bosses and leads to confusion and public waste of tax payer monies and resources since employees will start responding to the last police juror who gave them a directive.

Under the council-president form of government, the council is a legislative body, much like the United States Congress, and their only authority is enact laws and tell the parish president how much can be spent in certain categories.

The parish president, as the administrator of parish government, takes the broad directives from the council, and establishes an order of priority in which projects are to be completed based on the amount of monies that have been directed by the council.

By consolidating all project requests, the parish president can better direct parish resources to the most pressing and optimal need.

The Daily Comet quotes Councilman Daniel Lorraine saying, “This needs to be done. The deck is stacked in this charter. It's not fair, the parish president can fire a department head as she wishes, but the council needs two-thirds plus one.”

Yes, Mr. Lorraine, that is correct. Department heads serve at the pleasure of the parish president, not the parish council. If the council is allowed to easily dismiss department heads, no one would ever want those positions since they would be subject to many bosses instead of just one. If a department head were truly derelict in their duties, you should not have to worry about even getting seven votes, it should be a unanimous decision.

It is hypocritical of the council to put this up for a vote proclaiming, as Councilman Rodney Doucet did, “Give it to the people to decide.” This council refused to “give it to the people to decide” when the subject of term limits came up.

Kudos must be given to Councilmen Phillip Gouaux and Jerry Jones for voting against this measure and shame on every other council member.


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