Asking for Legal Input: Josh Guillory Asks for Louisiana Attorney General’s Opinion as Lafayette Council Members Raise Leadership Concerns
When news broke on Monday that Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory had entered rehab for possible alcohol addiction and untreated PTSD, there were many questions raised.
One of those questions was: How will Guillory continue to govern while in rehab?
Guillory has remained Chief Executive Officer of the City of Lafayette, the Parish of Lafayette, and the City-Parish Government. This means that he has been available to exercise all general executive and administrative authority over all administrative functions, departments of Lafayette Consolidated Government "in accordance with the Charter," says Guillory's Deputy Chief of Staff Jamie Angelle.
Special arrangements were made for Guillory with the in-patient treatment facility so that 24-hour access to him would be allowed. Guillory has with him a computer with secure wi-fi access to the Lafayette Consoliated Government's network so that he can remain available to perform his functions remotely. Also, he can be reached by the City-Parish Attorney or the Chief Adminstrative Officer at any time, which CAO Cydra Wingerter confirmed to KPEL News on "Lafayette Live" Thursday morning when she spoke of her daily conversations with Guillory during this process.
And, Guillory will still personally review and sign any documents including contracts or ordinances that require his signature.
Angelle points out that under Section 3-06 of the LCG Home Rule Charter, the Mayor-President is not "unavailable."
But, in their well wishes press release to Guillory earlier this week, Chair of the Lafayette Parish Council "AB" Rubin and Chair of the Lafayette City Council Nanette Cook issued this joint statement:
On behalf of both the Parish Council and City Council, we the members extend our best wishes to the Mayor-President on his journey to recovery. We send our heartfelt prayers to him and his family during difficult time. As to the governance of the City and Parish, in the absence of the Mayor-President, the leadership of the Councils are still in the process of reviewing the applicable provisions of the Charter and will be addressing that matter in the coming days.
As you will notice in reading the Charter, the City Council and the Parish Council are listed as the governing bodies in a clause addressing a "Vacancy in Office of Mayor-President if the "temporary abscense...extends to more than thirty (30) consecutive days."
Well, with the leadership of the Councils "reviewing the applicable provisions of the Charter" and talk about if council members are looking at appointing an interim mayor, Guillory decided to write a letter to Attorney General Jeff Landry's Office asking him to issue an opinion on the issue. Here's the response to the City and Parish Councils looking into the possibility of appointing an acting Chief Executive while the Mayor-President gets health treatment, as issued by Guillory's Deputy Chief of Staff Jamie Angelle:
The Mayor-President believes any action by the Councils would be unfounded and unnecessary given the fact that he receives a daily briefing on pertinent matters involving the City and Parish of Lafayette and remains available as needed.
Will the AG's opinion clear up the legal questions surrounding this situation as questions have arised about the Charter's handling of a situation of this magnitude? We shall see.