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Former CAO speaks out, questions raised about LCG transparency

Josh Guillory
Posted at 10:25 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-18 13:16:18-05

Lafayette Consolidated Government's short-lived Chief Administrative Officer is raising concerns about transparency in the new administration.

Beth Guidry said she was forced to resign after about a week on the job with Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory.

Guidry resigned Wednesday.

She and Guillory have been friends for years, but this week, she said the Mayor-President forced her out and questioned her loyalty because some of her friends are running for public office against his supporters.

Guillory announced the changes in a news release Wednesday, declining to comment any further calling it a personnel matter.

In the days since, our requests for more information on this resignation and others have been declined from an administration that promised changes in terms of openness and transparency at LCG.

At the first city council meeting, then CAO Beth Guidry and Mayor-President Josh Guillory sat side-by-side. That meeting was their first and last as leadership at LCG.

During that meeting, Guidry said, "I'm thrilled to be here. I'm excited to serve on behalf of the Guillory administration and I look forward to working with our new council members on both sides."

Days later, Guidry says she was forced out.

"I'm collateral damage, portrayed to be incompetent, a jv player on a varsity team...that is not the case," Guidry said.

The Mayor-President addressed Guidry's resignation on KPEL.

He said, "I don't have time to babysit a CAO for six to nine months."

For days, KATC has been requesting an interview and finally caught up with Guillory at an Arbor Day event.

"I wish the best for her," Guillory said. "She's a great person, but I'm looking toward the future and my decision on our new chief administrative officer will benefit our parish."

We pressed Guillory about those comments he made on KPEL. We asked Guillory to explain what he meant by he didn't have time to babysit.

Our interview was ended by Cydra Wingerter, former communications director with the Robideaux administration and now Beth Guidry's replacement at CAO.

Guillory's reluctance to answer our questions in contrast to his rhetoric on the campaign trail.

In a November 2019 interview with KATC's Jim Hummel, Guillory said, "The first thing we want to accomplish is trust in government."

Guillory went on to say, "The way that you do that is you have extreme transparency, open communication. I've committed to going on the radio stations once a week, if not more just to communicate, field questions. The good, bad or ugly."

The Guillory administration has made it clear to KATC that they would prefer to only speak to reporters of their choosing and they want questions submitted ahead of time. They've also asked us to not ask any questions they don't approve of prior to an interview with Guillory.

We will not agree to that and have told them so repeatedly.

It's our stance at KATC that an elected official ought to be able to answer any question about the office to which the people elected them.

We have several pending public records requests out for information that according to the law should have been made available immediately if the administration knows they were public.

Instead, we got a standard form letter saying they could take weeks to figure out what they have if anything to turn over.

Included in our request.... all email addresses Josh Guillory uses for government business, the resignation letter given by the former CEO and any correspondence involving former Lafayette Police Chief Toby Aguillard.