LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Consolidated Government has responded to a lawsuit from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, which concerns expenses that the sheriff says should be paid for by the parish.
LCG claims that the amount of the expenses that LPSO is requesting the parish pay is unreasonable and would deplete the Courthouse Complex Fund in less than three years.
In August, Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber asked LCG for an additional $1.8 million on top of the $2.4 million proposed for courthouse funding.
On Oct. 4, Garber and the LPSO filed suit against LCG for nearly $1.8 million to cover the salaries of 35 positions for certain mandated positions at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in areas including maintenance, food service, dietitian, laundry deputies, mental health professionals, educational instructors and the chaplain.
That suit also claims that the parish has not paid for the medical care of prisoners at LPCC and has left the selection of the medical care provider of the jail to the sheriff by an informal agreement for many years.
The sheriff’s lawsuit clarifies that the amount of expenses that it requested be paid by the parish was less than what it was owed.
In it response filed on Nov. 8, legal counsel for LCG states that:
“...the sheriff has selected medical care providers in the past and submitted invoices to the parish for payment of these services, which exceeded the parish’s statutory obligation to pay, since it included medical services provided to non-parish prisoners and/or city prisoners (whose medical expenses were otherwise covered by an Intergovernmental Agreement between LCG and the sheriff).”
The response from LCG also states that the parish is not obligated to pay expenses for non-parish or city prisoners.
LCG’s response claims that paying such expenses would be unreasonable stating that, “the parish’s obligation to fund mandated expenses is limited by the standard of reasonableness.”
“A parish’s duty to pay is limited to its ability to pay,” the response states. “To adopt the sheriff’s requested ‘compromise’ figure would deplete the Courthouse Complex Fund in less than three years (and likely much sooner due to the exorbitant costs in recent years being paid by the parish to house its inmates at out-of-parish facilities.)”