Mar 7, 2012 11:48 PM by Shawn Kline

Romero asks to hire Lafayette City-Parish Attorney as advisor

Iberia Parish President Errol "Romo" Romero and Parish Council remained at odds Wednesday night.

To refresh your memory, it all began before Romero took office, when he handed out a number of pink-slips to parish employees.
Council questioned that action and Romero blamed District Attorney Phil Haney for undermining council's decision-making.

Then last week, Romero accused the DA of unethical practices. Council is now going to higher powers for a recommendation on how to handle this situation.

One councilmember asked, "if the Attorney General comes back with an opinion stating there's no conflict of interest, will you accept the DA as your legal advisor?"

"I'd have to really give that some thought," Romero answered. "I have to be with someone that I'm comfortable with."

According to the Iberia Parish Home Rule Charter, the DA represents all of parish government.

It's no secret, Romero and District Attorney Phil Haney don't see eye-to-eye. So, Romero wants his own attorney and he's pitching the same man who represents Lafayette Government: Mike Hebert.

"If things don't change, I'll just cut it off at ten-thousand (dollars)," Romero said.

Hebert would pull-in $200 an hour just to advise Romero.
With a cost like that, councilmembers ask: is that affordable?

The DA takes on all aspects of parish government at no additional cost and that clearly follows the charter, bringing up another question:
Can Romero legally hire another attorney to advise him?

Council decided to take these questions to higher powers, reaching out to other state agencies but councilman Roger Duncan asks why the DA and the Parish President can't just work together.

"If (Haney) doesn't like Mr. Romero, he'll still represent Mr. Romero," Duncan said. "I don't think he'll have a biased opinion."

Councilmembers still have a lot of unanswered questions but they're hoping state agencies can expedite the answers so they can get the parish up and moving again.



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