The Lafayette Charter Commission decided to hold its first meeting on Monday, Aug. 2 after being sworn on Wednesday in the City-Parish Council auditorium. The nine member panel elected George Lewis and Bruce Conque as commission chairman and vice chair, respectively. After his election as commission chairman, Lewis told his fellow members, “I have no agenda, no ax to grind, no political agenda. I want to make sure we listen to what each person has to tell us before we come to a conclusion."

The commission will meet for nine months before making recommendations concerning the Lafayette Home Rule Charter. Those recommendations could be minor, or the panel could recommend the charter be repealed and Lafayette return to dual city and parish forms of government. The commission will get a report from City-Parish President Joey Durel at its first meeting, and Lafayette Consolidated Government department heads will give reports at later meetings. The general public will also have opportunities to make suggestions to the commission. Meetings will be televised on Acadiana Open Channel.

Aaron Walker signs the Lafayette Parish Oath Book following
Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony.

Calling it a “historic occasion,” Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court conducted the swearing-in ceremony. The other commission members are Don Bacque, Dale Bourgeois, Karen Carson, Greg Manuel, Keith Miller, Aaron Walker and Steve Oats.

Walker said following the ceremony he was ready to begin the commission’s business right away. “I thought we were going to get into a formal meeting this evening,” he said. “I’m ready to go to work on this thing, to get this done.”

Walker, a former president of the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP, said he has no preconceptions about where the commission’s deliberations might lead. “I'm coming into this with an open mind,” he said. “I want to look at all the issues; in fact, I want to dissect this whole thing. Let’s open it up and see what we have, see what’s working, what’s not working. At the end of day, what do we do? Do we put something else together and offer it up to the voters or do we leave it as is and tweak it? There’s going to be some decisions to make.”

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