[Editor’s Note: The following submission is by Don Bacque, a Lafayette financial planner and member last year of the Charter Commission that recommended the parishwide proposition on deconsolidation — a proposition that was roundly rejected last October. Bacque is also a former state representative who in the early 1990s was instrumental in shepherding the legislation that led to the consolidation of Lafayette’s city and parish governments. As a charter commissioner last year, Bacque was in the minority that opposed deconsolidation, and, with fellow pro-deconsolidation commissioner Bruce Conque, made the rounds of Lafayette’s civic groups and smaller municipal governments to offer presentations highlighting their respective positions. Although Bacque opposed splitting up Lafayette city and parish governments, he maintained throughout the process that the Lafayette Home Rule Charter — the constitution for Lafayette Consolidated Government — needs to be amended to give the city of Lafayette greater control over its finances and affairs. As an addendum to this note, The Ind recommends revisiting Managing Editor Walter Pierce’s May 9, 2012 column calling for a weighted vote by council members — an idea that arguably could solve virtually all the city of Lafayette’s autonomy issues.]
“Hey Don, what’s happening with the charter”?
I hear this question much too often and struggle with a reply.
The answer is that until the council reconvenes a charter commission or committee, nothing will happen.
Bruce Conque and I, as well as Rob Guidry from the Lafayette Chamber, appeared at a council meeting earlier this year to urge action. Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux has told us he requested the council address this issue, yet nothing has happened. If you are feeling as frustrated as we are, I urge you to make your wishes known to the Council Chair, Jared Bellard, as he controls what is placed on the agenda. Someone needs to start this issue towards resolution.
We all know that although the vote to remain a consolidated government was significant, there are obvious flaws in the current charter that have been identified and are easily remedied. Some additional issues are more controversial, but also need to be addressed. Government is expert at “kicking the can down the road”. We need to tell them now that we need action, not procrastination. Now is the time for leadership, not partisanship. Now is the time for all the citizens who want a more progressive government to make those wishes known to the council. Until that happens, nothing will happen with the charter.