At its Nov. 14 meeting, the civil service board decided that five candidates ' interim Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, Lafayette PD Maj. George "Jackie" Alfred, former Lafayette Maj. Les Jones, Toby Jean Aguillard of the state Attorney General's office and former UL Police Chief Joey Sturm ' met the requirements to take the exam.
The requirements state that the applicant must have attained at least a bachelor's degree or, in lieu of a bachelor's degree, he or she must have been employed with the Lafayette Police Department as a commissioned officer prior to Oct. 18, 1979, and still be employed with the department, with no disruption of employment. (The latter requirement was added to pave the way for embattled former chief Randy Hundley's appointment.) And while all of the candidates meet that requirement ' only Alfred gets to sit for the test based on the "Hundley" rule ' the second qualification appears to be the sticking point. The qualifications read: "Must have ten (10) years of law enforcement work with a law enforcement agency or police department that is similar or larger than the Lafayette Police Department."
Board chairman Jason Boudreaux, a captain with the Lafayette Fire Department, says the board interpreted this to mean a candidate needs 10 years with a law enforcement agency of any size. He also says the candidate would not need 10 years of police department work if that department is equal or larger than Lafayette's. "I'm not denying that we took a liberal approach," Boudreaux says. He maintains the board did not favor a particular candidate nor did it get any pressure whatsoever from City-Parish President Joey Durel's administration to qualify a candidate. "We have nothing to do with the selection process," he says.
In a Dec. 6 letter to the civil service board, Lt. Dwayne Arceneaux of the Lafayette Police Department urged the board to re-evaluate the qualifications of the candidates at its Dec. 12 meeting but did not mention anyone by name. Arceneaux, who did not attend the November meeting, tells The Independent Weekly he sent the letter after fellow officers brought the issue of Sturm's and Aguillard's qualifications to his attention.
Arceneaux says that the requirement appears to indicate that candidates need a decade of experience with either a law enforcement agency or police department, both of which must be equal to or larger than Lafayette's. Had that been the interpretation, Sturm, who has worked for the Iberia Parish Sheriff's department for almost three years, would need his UL experience to get to that threshold ' and the university department is nowhere near the size of the Lafayette Police Department.
Likewise, Arceneaux says in order to have a decade of such experience, Aguillard, who has a law degree, has to count his tenure as a part-time reserve deputy sheriff. However, the qualification does not require full-time employment, an apparent oversight.
Boudreaux questions the 11th-hour objections. "What will we do, a day before the test tell this guy he's disqualified because somebody did not like our interpretation?" Boudreaux says the Nov. 14 agenda was posted for almost a month, and any resident who wanted to question the qualifications could have done so at that meeting. "[It was] an open forum," he says.
Sturm defends his work experience. "I think I exceed the qualifications," says Sturm, who is best known for his handling of the 1999 murder of UL student Jill Tompkins while he was chief at the university. Sturm says he will answer any questions the selection committee has but won't discuss his work experience with the media. "This is not an election. I'm interviewing for an appointed position," he says.
For his part, Durel says when he heard Sturm would sit for the test, he also questioned how his background at UL would qualify him. "That was the first thing that went through my mind," Durel says. The city-parish president says he has never talked to Sturm about the job, which pays $87,500. Sturm, however, did speak with Durel's chief administrative officer Dee Stanley, about the position in September. "He called me and I met with him as a courtesy," says Stanley. "He did raise the issue of the qualifications, specifically the 10-year law enforcement requirement, and I informed him of the process. I told him the board would meet to determine who is qualified to take the exam and the state examiner takes it from there."
Both Boudreaux and the board's attorney, Candice Hattan, say the qualifications should be rewritten for clarity. "I probably would not have interpreted it the way the board did," Hattan says.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.