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
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.