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St. Landry Parish Council Votes in Favor of Human Resource Investigation

The St. Landry Parish Council members voted in favor of an investigation into the Human Resource Department and other Parish Government Departments following the termination of 21 employees.
Posted at 10:37 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 23:37:33-04

Police arrested a former St. Landry Parish employee at a council meeting on Wednesday evening.

According to Parish President Jessie Bellard, Tracy Duplichain is one of the 21 employees he terminated between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022.

Bellard said he holds his employees to a certain standard and wants to remind everyone that Louisiana is an at-will state.

"At-will means that a person can be terminated for any reason or for no reason at all," Bellard said. "But, in some cases, they were written up, some cases, they were not. I will not tolerate anybody working in the government that's going to be taking, stealing or doing anything that may jeopardize our federal grants or federal funding that's coming through. If somebody does that, they're not going to work for the government."

Some Council Members like Wayne Ardoin said he has some questions about how the Parish President is running the office.

"You chose to give our finance director a pay raise and we are the people that ratified her employment and are ratifying her salary," Ardoin said. "And you chose to give a raise and you chose to tell us the other night that you would not let her come her."

Bellard said while he is not opposed to being investigated, he is limited in the details he can provide regarding personnel matters.

"I want to remind the council that ya'll have no authority on no employees other than the Clerk and the Assistant Clerk," Bellard said. "I want to make sure ya'll are aware of this, ya'll cannot put anybody on leave and ya'll cannot do any kind of disciplinary action to any employee other than the two that works for ya'll."

While the council is pushing for an investigation, Ardoin said Bellard is not collaborating when it comes to making decisions.

"It's like we the dogs here and you are the big, German Shephard and we're just the puppies," Ardoin said.

It is unclear when an Independent Resource Specialist will be hired to investigate the human resource and any other parish government departments to determine if proper termination protocol was followed, this proposal was approved by the parish council.