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Lafayette Civil Service Board advised to remove unearned severance pay rule from books

Board will meet again to vote on removal.
Posted at 9:16 PM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 11:32:32-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette City-Parish Civil Service Board met Wednesday night to discuss the legality a rule that grants unearned severance pay to employees who leave LCG at the start of a new administration.

Board attorney George Armbruster recommended that the board no longer make severance payments because there is no legal obligation to do so, referencing a court decision out of Jefferson Parish. He added that the rule should be removed "entirely" from the civil service rules.

Civil Service Director Adam Marcantel explained that the issue of unearned severance payments arose from The Advocate's investigation into payments made to four directors who did not keep their jobs when Josh Guillory took over as Mayor-President.

READ MORE: Severance payments may violate the law

"We don't want a rule that is unconstitutional," said Marcantel.

The board discussed conditions that should be considered if the rule is removed, including whether the employee was laid off or retired involuntarily.

Julie Broussard, the board's chair, proposed that Marcantel draw up a motion to have the rule removed. The board also directed Marcantel to advise Lafayette Consolidated Government to freeze any severance payments that have not yet been paid out.

The board must give 30 days public notice before voting.

Marcantel said that while there isn't a specific date set for the next meeting, he will try to schedule it as close to 30 days after the posting deadline as possible. At that meeting, the board will vote on whether or not to remove the rule.

The Advocate's investigation looked into severance payments amounting to 180 hours, or four weeks of pay, that possibly violated state law because they were not earned.

The Louisiana Constitution prohibits government agencies from donating "things of value, funds, property, or credit."