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
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.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
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.