With 14 members, the Iberia Parish Council is one of the state’s largest, but based on its population, that number makes little to no sense.
Arguably, having such a large council for what’s mostly a rural parish has resulted in a tradition of dysfunction, which has continued, and perhaps even intensified under the current administration of Parish President Romo Romero.
For years, various members of the council have made attempts at reducing its numbers, some proposing a downsizing to seven and others calling on a nine member council. The problem with those attempts is that the issue has never been put before the voters, but rather has been decided each time by the council members themselves — a seeming conflict-of-interest considering a vote in favor of reduction would put each of those members in jeopardy of losing their elected seat.
Yet, a new effort to downsize was launched recently by councilman David Ditch. His effort came up for a vote Wednesday, and like his predecessors, the issue once again died at the hands of his fellow council members, with half voting against the reduction.
Wednesday’s vote, according to a post on Ditch’s Facebook page, wouldn’t have actually reduced the number, not yet at least, but was merely a resolution to allow public input on the issue.
“We were very close to letting the tax payers voice their opinion,” writes Ditch’s fellow councilman Ricky Gonsoulin.
According to Ditch, none of the seven voting against the reduction — including council members Maggie Daniels, Joe Baudoin, Lloyd Brown, Glenn Romero, Roger Duncan, Aquiline Arnold and Wayne Romero — voiced a reason for denying the public’s chance to weigh in on the issue. “No reason given tonight — hard to understand,” writes Ditch.
The Iberia Parish Council, it’s worth noting, is bigger than Lafayette’s City-Parish Council’s nine members, and is even double the size of the New Orleans City Council.
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