The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote on an ordinance for final adoption Tuesday that would grant a 2 percent pay raise to employees of Lafayette Consolidated Government. The measure was approved as an introductory ordinance on Dec. 7 by a vote of 6-2. Councilmen Jay Castille, Brandon Shelvin, Kenneth Boudreaux, Jared Bellard, Sam Dore and Don Bertrand voted in favor; Keith Patin and William Theriot cast nay votes. (Purvis Morrison was absent.)
City-Parish President Joey Durel hadn’t budgeted a pay raise for LCG employees — the first year a pay raise was omitted from a budget since 2001 — in his 2010-2011 fiscal year budget released last summer. However, citing better than anticipated sales tax collections in the second half of FY 2009-2010, Durel asked council members to convene a special meeting to vote on the measure. At that Dec. 7 special meeting, LCG Chief Financial Officer Becky Lalumia told council members that the raise will help offset, but will not completely cover, an increase in the cost city-parish employees incurred for LCG’s group health insurance plan.
Civil Service Director Mike Sands also recommended the pay hike, telling the council it will help maintain hiring rates at LCG. In a recent email, Durel also defended the pay increase along the same lines, deflecting suggestions that the raise is politically calculated: “I don’t make decisions based on how it will affect my election; I make decisions based on information I have available and trying to run an efficient government that positions Lafayette for a great future,” Durel replied. “I doubt that many business people would think that rewarding and retaining employees by giving a minimal pay increase — based on available funds — is being a big spender. I hear people often say that we should run government like a business. We are.”
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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