Nov 29, 2012 4:50 PM by Tonya LaCoste
In an opinion released by the state attorney general, his office does not have sufficient information to determine whether Iberia Parish President Romo Romero violated the Iberia Parish Home Rule Charter when he hired a private attorney without council approval. According to the charter, the district attorney shall serve as the legal advisor to the "parish council, parish president and all parish departments, offices and agencies."
The Iberia Parish Council asked Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's opinion after Romero used a private attorney to advise him during a special council meeting. The opinion states, "this office does not have sufficient information to determine if the meeting in question was a 'meeting' as defined in La. R.S. 42:13 or if said individual was in fact representing the president in his official capacity or just attending the meeting with the president."
Although the attorney general's office lacked information to determine whether Romero violated the charter, the opinion said "hiring a private attorney to serve as legal advisor for the president without obtaining prior authorization and approval from the council would constitute a violation of the charter."
The Iberia Parish Council has turned to former U.S. Attorney Donald Washington for guidance. He'll advise members on their options and the council will discuss the attorney general's opinion in detail at an executive committee meeting on Dec. 12.