The search for a new permanent director for the Lafayette Utility System is on hold.
The council voted 8-0 to allow Mayor-President JoelRobideaux’s veto of an item reducing the LUS director’s and LUS communications director’s salaries to $1.
In order to stop Robideaux from hiring a new director before hearing the proposal from Bernhard Group, who plans to buy and manage LUS, Councilman Bruce Conque introduced an amendment to reduce the director salary to $1 for the new fiscal year, but instead they came to a compromise.
“You know I wish we would’ve had this conversation during the budget hearings. If you would’ve just asked me not to have any interviews, just to hold off on the appointment I certainly would have,” said Robideaux to Conque.
Councilman Bruce Conque and Robideaux agreed to introduce a resolution at the next regular council meeting deferring the appointment of a new LUS director until the council receives more information about the proposed deal with Bernhard.
If the council approves the Bernhard proposal, they will consider sending it to city voters in March.
Next week, the Bernhard Group will be briefing the city council members on what they plan to do with LUS.
LCG employees will also get a two-percent cost of living raise.
The City-Parish Council and the Lafayette Public Utilities Authority voted to override Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s line-item budget veto eliminating that raise from the budget.
It will cost roughly $2.5 million and the funding for that comes from both the city and parish budgets. The parish would pay about $80,000, cutting from several departments like the district courthouse instead of the diminishing general fund. The rest of the funding will come from the city’s general fund.
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The full council voted 6-2 to approve the override. Councilmen William Theriot and Jared Bellard voted against. The LPUA approved the measure by a 4-0 vote. Councilwoman Liz Hebert was absent.
The council failed to override a veto creating 10 new firefighter positions in the Lafayette Fire Department. Five council members voted in favor of the override, one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to override. Theriot, Bellard, and Councilwoman Nanette Cook voted “no” on the measure.
To read more about the Mayor-President’s reasoning for the vetoes, click here.