LAFAYETTE, La. — "Good morning! Thank you all for being here. It's absolutely great to be back with you here in Lafayette. I will address some of the lingering questions you have all had over the last few weeks."
Those were the first words—spoken at Monday morning press conference at the Lafayette Consolidated Government Building-- heard from Lafayette Mayor Josh Guillory in just over three weeks. But after addressing the challenges of his battles with alcohol and PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome), Lafayette Mayor Josh Guillory almost immediately laid down the gauntlet and defended his record.
"When I returned home,” Guillory began, “I wasn't surprised to see attacks in the media; I get it, we have done things differently in our administration. Our processes have not been status quo, and for good reason: The old way of doing things was inefficient, and full of crippling bureaucracy."
The floor opened to questions, and I asked the mayor if he could understand why some in our community might wonder how he could be fully vested in his 21-day stint in rehab, yet at the same time, still be available to essentially run the city.
“Sure, absolutely, it’s different,” said Guillory. “In the past, a lot of times, people kind of cover this stuff up. Do it in the dark of night and make some excuse to why you’re not at council meetings and things like that, you know we’ve always been transparent. When you open up the hood, sometimes it’s a little messy under there. But I am human. I will say though, Scott, that every treatment is different, every person is different, I just trust the experts and am thankful for ‘em.”
Basically, that question wasn’t answered. The same is true when a respected veteran newspaper reporter asked why Guillory didn’t simply follow the charter and hand over the reins of power to members of the City Council. “Look, the people elected me, elected my powers, elected my thoughts and ideas, and the administration is there to carry out those thoughts and ideas. 21 days not a long time, and folks deserve those initiatives to go forward.” Again, no real answer to the question.
The mayor did, however, suggest to those who oppose him or disagree with him to visit his office. “If you want to work with me, in good faith, and bring contributions toward our efforts to continue to make Lafayette a premier destination in the state of Louisiana, my door is always open.”
And as to why the mayor was so willing to meet with the media and discuss his rehab on his first day back at work? “Look, I feel like I have a mission, and part of the sobriety effort is to help other folks in this situation, and that’s why I appreciate you guys being here. It’s important that we talk about this.”
“Anybody that knows me,” added Guillory, “from when I started my office to whatever I do—these guys (he said acknowledging members of his staff who were in the room) are all familiar with it—everything must be lawful and ethical. Everything must be lawful and ethical.”
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