Lafayette city-parish officials are still looking for
answers a week after the state legislature extended new financial disclosure
requirements to cover volunteer municipal boards and commissioners. In Lafayette
alone, 56 board members have tendered their resignation rather than be
subjected to the new disclosures. Part of the problem, according to city-parish
council chairman Don Bertrand, is uncertainty over what exactly is included in
the financial disclosure. Senate Bill 718, now Act NO. 472, applies to all
local boards and commissions that have “the authority to expend, disburse or
invest ten thousand dollars or more of funds in a fiscal year.” The bill
reduced earlier, more stringent requirements set by the legislature but still
required reporting the sources of income of board members and their spouses,
amounts of income from state and political subdivisions, and gambling
interests. Board members had until midnight Monday to resign before being
required to comply with the new laws.
Bertrand says the state has failed to effectively notify and
explain the provisions in the new disclosure requirements. He says many local
board members resigned out of an abundance of caution. “The devil’s always in
the details,” he says. “This is broad sweeping policy without any i’s being
dotted and t’s being crossed. We all want reform but it has to be based in
reality. People have to know what it is that they need to report.” Bertrand says the city will be seeking to fill vacant
board posts. The council also is likely to consider a resolution at its next
meeting requesting the state legislature revisit the issue.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.