In an eleventh hour settlement of a lawsuit headed for trial Aug. 10, Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc. reached an agreement with the Iberia Parish Council. "If the parties were going to settle, we had to do it now," says parish Assistant District Attorney Wayne Landry. The deciding factor, scheduled for a ruling prior to the trial's commencement, was a pending motion for parish government's right to cancel MCCI's contract. "Whoever wins that motion, there would be little incentive to settle after that," adds Landry, who represents the parish.
A ruling for MCCI would have caused the parish government to reimburse MCCI from the time the contract was cancelled through the length of its term ' more than $300,000. The council voted 10-2 not to gamble and instead accepted a payment of $132,665 from MCCI.
Council member Caesar Comeaux was one of the two dissenting votes. "There was an audit made, and we got the results that we have been overcharged," he says. "What would this be called if [MCCI President Glenn Stokes] overcharged over a long period of time? They call that fraud. I just don't feel it was right for us to settle that in a meeting room. It should have been sent to court."
Former council member Lloyd Nicholson, who introduced Stokes to Iberia Parish in 1982, and remains friends with him, agrees with Comeaux. "The problem with not going to trial is that if anything was improper or illegal, we'll never know about it now."
The dispute between Iberia Parish Government and MCCI came to a head in September 2004, when the parish council cancelled its source reduction contract with MCCI and filed suit for breach of contract, money due and damages. ("Foggy Contract Breakdown," June 1). Stokes countersued.
Landry is pleased with the terms of the settlement. "If there's one thing I'm elated about, it's to get the parish out of the source reduction business. There's a potential for too many problems ' the potential for abuse when you're doing public work on private property," he says.
Stokes is relieved as well. "We don't feel that we did anything wrong," he says. "We followed the contract and did whatever we were told to do by the parish. It was shown that mistakes and miscalculations were made on both sides. At no time during this was my professional integrity or the quality of mosquito control in question. This was about figures. We won a lot of things; they proved some things. Ultimately it saved everyone ' the taxpayers and us ' money." ' MT
BUS STOP BULLETINS
After the confusion experienced last year with new bus routes, the Lafayette Parish School System's Transportation Department wants parents, students and bus drivers on the same page for the start of school in August. To achieve that goal, it's launched a new transportation department Web site, and parish bus stop pamphlets will be mailed out next month to all public school students' residences. The transportation department also is sending out special letters to pupils registered in any of the school system's Schools of Choice programs and working on setting up a hotline to field questions. "We're trying to cover all our bases," says LPSS Communications Director Justine Sutley. The transportation department's new Web site, which can be linked from www.lpssonline.com, invites users to type in their address and view a map of area bus stops, along with school and bus driver contact information. Sutley says she hopes parents will contact bus drivers in advance so the drivers can estimate how many students they will be picking up at each stop. Last year's newly consolidated bus routes resulted in scores of students riding in overcrowded buses or waiting in vain at the wrong bus stops. ' NS
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.