The Lafayette Charter Commission will hold its first public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council auditorium, beginning a nine-month process that is likely to result in at least changes to the Lafayette City-Parish Home Rule Charter.

Monday’s meeting will be mostly practical in nature as the nine-member commission will establish its rules of order for conducting meetings as well as hear from members of the Durel administration and the City-Parish Council. The CPC recently amended the ordinance creating the commission allowing the panel to conduct business outside the confines of Robert’s Rules of Order, a set of guidelines for parliamentary procedure under which most deliberative assemblies operate. Suspending RRO should allow the commission to be more free-wheeling in its deliberations.

Sources tell The Independent that an early area of interest for the commission will be the possibility of asking parish voters next spring to extend the term of the current council and city-parish president by one year, which would move those elections from October 2011 to the fall of 2012. This would allow any significant recommendations by the commission — most importantly repeal of the charter — to go into effect by 2013, pending voter approval, rather than 2016; state law prevents an elected official’s term in office from being truncated by a change to the charter. If council/c-p president elections are held in 2011 as scheduled and voters don’t weigh in on a referendum related to the charter until after that election, any changes to the charter that would affect representation in those offices, including charter repeal, couldn’t go into effect until council members and the city-parish president complete the four-year term that begins in January 2012.

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