LANGLINAIS SEEKING UP TO $20,000 IN VACATION PAY Former Iberia Parish President Will Langlinais, who resigned from office in July 2007 after pleading guilty to malfeasance in office, is seeking accrued vacation pay accumulated over his 14-year tenure. Langlinais’ attorney, Wade Trahan, recently sent a letter to the Iberia Parish District Attorney’s office, requesting vacation pay. The Iberia Parish Council directed Assistant District Attorney Eric Duplantis to look into the matter.
According to the parish’s Home Rule Charter, the parish president is entitled to accrued vacation and sick leave. Aside from the eight-month hiatus since Langlinais left office before applying for sick leave, there is a black hole when it comes to records. Duplantis says that during Langlinais’ time in office he never notified anyone where he was — and whether he was on parish business or his own time. Iberia Parish employee vacation and sick leave policy states: “Leave records must be maintained for employees eligible to accrue vacation leave.”
Iberia Parish Human Resources Director Donna McDonald says that she has no way to calculate how much vacation pay Langlinais might be entitled to because she has no paperwork. “I do not know how much vacation time he took, because there’s no documentation,” she says. “Everybody has to follow procedures,” says Duplantis. “Under the parish’s policy he had a duty to notify when he was out on vacation. We’re treating Will like any other employee. He has to document what he is entitled to.”
Langlinais currently receives state retirement and health insurance.
MUDBUG MADNESS IN THE LEGISLATURE If crawfish farmers and crustacean aficionados are looking for a banner-bearer, they need look no further than rookie Rep. Fred H. Mills Jr., a Democrat from Parks. The spunky Cajun is sponsoring what promises to be two of the most controversial mudbug-related bills during the upcoming regular session that opens March 31.
For an appetizer, Mills is serving up House Bill 501, which would transfer the management and regulation of wild-caught crawfish from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The latter already oversees pond operations and spearheaded an international trade suit during the 1990s, which has long left many in the industry wondering why the ag folks don’t oversee the whole shebang.
Mills’ main course, however, can be found in House Bill 266, which would force restaurants to notify their customers if the crawfish they’re serving is from a foreign country. If the law passes, all eateries — from Commander’s Palace to the mom-and-pop shop down the street — would have to update their menus.
Shrimpers tried the same trick a few years ago but were aggressively shot down by the influential Louisiana Restaurant Association. Mills should expect more of the same, especially since his bill calls for fines of up to $500 or jail time of 90 days for first-time offenders.
BILLS SEEK TO RAISE COLLEGE TUITION A trio of bills in the state Legislature would allow UL Lafayette to raise its student tuition for the 2008-2009 school year. The primary measure will come from the Board of Regents’ tuition proposal. As a backup, state Rep. Don Trahan has filed two separate measures, one of which calls on direct legislative approval for a 4 percent increase to UL Lafayette’s tuition — a rise Trahan says would be covered by TOPS. Trahan, who chairs the House education committee, also has filed a separate bill to give postsecondary management boards greater autonomy in setting tuition rates.
Trahan says UL’s tuition has lagged below the state’s other Doctoral II universities (UNO and LA Tech), in addition to smaller schools within the UL system. “[These bills] would help UL tremendously,” Trahan says. In addition, Trahan has filed a resolution on behalf of the governor to appeal to the Board of Regents to re-examine its funding of higher education. Traditionally, university funding has been based primarily on enrollment numbers. The governor wants to see other factors, including number of doctoral programs and level of faculty research, have more of an impact on funding levels.
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING: AN OFFICIAL STATE DRINK? Believe it or not but the Sazerac may be designated the “official state cocktail” at the regular legislative session that starts March 31.
An apparent fan of the concoction, Democratic Sen. Edwin Murray of New Orleans filed in advance of the session Senate Bill 6 designating the Sazerac the official state cocktail, claiming it is the first mixed drink invented in New Orleans and one of the first in the country.
“We will probably have a little fun with this bill” as a diversion from the heavy issues lawmakers will face at the upcoming session, Murray told The Times-Picayune. “There will be a very aggressive effort to get it done.”
The paper reported that Ann Tuennerman, founder of the annual New Orleans Tales of the Cocktail activities, has written Murray to urge passage of the bill because the Sazerac has “evolved over time and represents history in a glass... When folks come to New Orleans, they want certain things authentic and original to the Crescent City, be it a beignet, a po-boy, a cup of chicory coffee, oysters Rockefeller, bread pudding or Bananas Foster.”
The drink in its original form was invented in the 1830s in New Orleans by pharmacist Antoine Amedee Peychaud, who fled Haiti and opened an apothecary on Royal Street in the French Quarter, according to the Picayune. To create the drink, he added his own blend of bitters and Louisiana cane sugar to a French brandy.
Murray’s bill asks that the state to use the official cocktail on “official documents...and with the insignia of the state.”
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, Mary Tutwiler and Nathan Stubbs
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.