The Chairs of the Lafayette City and Parish Councils have sent a letter to the Attorney General, offering what they call "clarification" and "context" to Mayor-President Josh Guillory's request for an opinion on his absence.
Guillory, who last week announced he had checked himself in to a 21-day program for alcohol abuse and PTSD treatment, also announced that he requested the opinion from the AG. The city-parish charter states that a member of the council shall be appointed to take over the mayor's duties if he/she is absent from the parish for more than 48 hours and is "unavailable."
It is Guillory's position that, because he is available to his city-parish attorney and chief administrative officer by telephone and to handle city business via computer, his absence doesn't constitute the situation described in the charter. Guillory, who is an attorney, asked the AG for an opinion on the issue - but did not mention in the letter the reason for his absence.
In the letter sent today, City Council Chair Nanette Cook, City Council Vice Chair Glenn Lazard (also an attorney) and Parish Council Chair AB Rubin all contributed more information about the situation.
"Regarding access to the mayor-president by his designees (the Chief Administrative Officer and the City-Parish Attorney) as a foundation of his availability to Lafayette Parish, it is important to acknowledge the eliminated, or, at best, significantly diminished possibility for the citizens of Lafayette Parish to either get to or use the direct service of the Mayor-President; thus, neither his broad nor narrow availability to Lafayette Parish exists," the letter states. "Additionally, no supporting information has been provided to the councils by LCG legal counsel or CAO to allow councils to make an independent determination of his availability as stated in his original request for an opinion."
The letter, which you can read for yourself below, also states that the council members are requesting that the AG opinion be delivered to them. In the charter, it is up to the chairs of the councils to meet to decide who will take over for the Mayor-President should such a situation exist.
Here's the letter: