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.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
Poachers killing elephants at increasing rates; independent autopsy on Brown; Gaza truce continues and more national and international news for Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Tea Party of Louisiana is calling Sen. David Vitter a “turncoat” for his newfound embrace of Common Core educational standards.
An annual report evaluating Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of Medicaid lacked important financial information and presented rosy performance reviews not corroborated by data, according to a review released Monday.
Lafayette attorney Michelle Meaux-Breaux has announced her plans to seek the Division E seat for judge in the 15th Judicial District.
A card-carrying member of Lafayette’s “tribe,” Milton “Spider” Guidry died over the weekend. IND music writer Nick Pittman remembers the character and the man.
As tensions continue to escalate in Ferguson, Mo., between law enforcement and residents protesting the shooting death of a local teen by police, we’re reminded of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the in-custody death earlier this year of a New Iberia man.
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Drew Brees walked up to the line of scrimmage early Sunday, taking a snap during the New Orleans Saints' pre-practice walk-through.
A state judge Friday refused a temporary injunction sought against state education officials in an effort to block implementation of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana.
UL was the consensus pick in a coaches' preseason poll to win the league, and experience has a lot to do with that.
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In a just-released audio recording, City Prosecutor Gary Haynes claims Mike Harson had direct dealings with the alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme in the DA’s office.
C-P councilmen sponsor a resolution in support of the notion that one should subscribe to Tea Party ideas about civics before being allowed to seek public office.
Russel Honoré, the retired U.S. Army general known for his role in restoring order to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and most recently for his involvement in the Green Army movement to stop environmental abuses of Louisiana, has now weighed in on the police response to protestors in Ferguson, Mo.
More than three dozen restaurants, bars, convenience stores and supermarkets in Lafayette Parish are facing fines in connection with the state office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control’s 2014 “Summer Crackdown.”
The grim news, delivered to the joint legislative budget committee, barely raised eyebrows at the committee hearing, after more than six years of such disappointing financial forecasts.