The NAACP is pushing for Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory to retain the 37 parks and recreation employees laid off today.
Marja Broussard, the President of the Lafayette Chapter of the NAACP said, "It's a sad day in Lafayette, Louisiana when you have a Mayor who will not listen to the cries of the community. We know today, it was confirmed that 37 employees will lose their job today."
The announcement made nearly a month ago is now in effect.
The NAACP says it is important for them to continue advocating for the community. They believe money is still available to keep these employees on board. Meanwhile, the Guillory administration says these cuts were necessary.
"Part of our issue is that the budget is made until October 31," Broussard said.
She says it's "evil" to layoff the 37 parks and rec employees who have dedicated their lives to serving the community.
"Of the 37 employees, we understand that 26 of them are African-American and I believe some of them have been asked to do part-time without benefits. It's cold hearted," Broussard said.
LCG Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle explained, "It has nothing to do with this Mayor-President trying to attack one group or another. It has to do with him trying to keep the city from going bankrupt and fulfilling that legal obligation to have a balanced budget."
The NAACP maintains these employees could have remained and says it's not enough to keep the rec centers open. They believe the City-Parish needs to shift its priorities.
"It's a sad day in Lafayette when our government cares more about drainage than the health, safety and well being of our citizens. We must do better and we have no choice but to do better," said NAACP member Devon Norman.
Angelle said, "If we don't make the decisions we're doing now, next year, it will be several times that amount of people who would have to be laid off because of the way we've been spending. We can't continue to fund things if we don't have the money to do it."
LCG says the employees laid off are civil service and their positions are eliminated. The people laid off were newer to their jobs, according to LCG.
"It goes on a seniority basis. The people who were laid off are not the ones who were there 30, 40 years if their positions were still available," Angelle said.
Angelle maintains they followed Civil Service rules.
LCG is working to relocate some of the employees to other departments, but does not have information on how many were offered other jobs.
Watch a full press conference held Friday by the NAACP below:
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