City-Parish Council Chairman Brandon Shelvin was aggressive to the point of belligerence at Tuesday’s night’s council briefing, heaping steady doses of condescending ire on a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana executive as council members heard about the top three proposals submitted by companies seeking a contract to administer Lafayette Consolidated Government’s self-insurance claims.
LCG issued a request for proposals back in April, and after an analysis, LCG’s Risk Management Department concluded that BC/BS’ proposal offered the most projected savings to local government — $46 million over three years. That evidently didn’t sit well with Shelvin, who failed to disclose his financial relationship with Wayne Elmore, the owner of Southern Benefit Services, which submitted the third-ranked proposal according to Risk Management’s grading scale. (Web TPA was second among the proposals. A total of nine companies responded to the RFP.)
Council Chairman Brandon Shelvin was aggressive and condescending Tuesday night with an insurance executive, cutting him off at one point to say, “OK, let me rephrase my question, make it a little simpler for you.”
As both The Ind and its sister publication, ABiz, have reported, Shelvin has long-standing financial ties to Elmore. While state ethics law does not prohibit him from participating in discussion and debate on a matter such as outsourcing LCG’s insurance claims, it would almost certainly be a conflict of interest — and violation of ethics law — to vote on awarding the contract. The council will vote on awarding that contract on Tuesday, June 25.
This isn’t the first time Shelvin and his financial interests have created friction in local politics. As the April 15 ABiz story “Risky Business” reported, Shelvin’s half brother, school board rep Tehmi Chassion, flouted state ethics laws with his heavy-handed attempt to steer a Lafayette Parish School System health plan to Southern Benefit Services, later voting — without disclosing his half-brother’s relationship to SBS’ owner — to award the contract to SBS. Ultimately, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana won that contract, too.
One council member who asked that he remain off the record characterized Shelvin’s heated questioning Tuesday of Blue Cross Vice President of Sales Gregory Cross as a “spectacle” and “padding his nest,” and assured The Ind that Shelvin would “be asked behind closed doors” if he planned to recuse himself from the vote on awarding the contract. It’s worth noting that any Lafayette resident will have the opportunity at the meeting on the 25th to urge the councilman to be mindful of state ethics laws and recuse himself from the vote.
Watch last night’s council briefing here. (Things get ugly about halfway through.)
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