Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff

The Lafayette City-Parish Council made the right decision in voting 6-2 to uphold the dismissal of Lafayette Housing Authority board members in the wake of a scandal that has the state legislative auditor, a federal inspector general and even the FBI investigating. The only problem with City-Parish President Joey Durel’s decision is that he left one board member in place, Donald Fuselier, when he was more than justified in cleaning house completely. No one is saying the board members did anything wrong; they just didn’t do anything right. They appeared to have very little knowledge of the turmoil and potential theft happening around them, and when two audits in a row point to serious problems with how an agency is spending taxpayer money, heads should roll. The three protesting former board members, Joe Dennis, Leon Simmons and John Freeman (two others dismissed have been silent) are now asking a district court judge to block new appointments by Durel. That’s a real shame. The embattled agency needs new leadership — on its board and among its top management — and it needs it now.


Sacked! That sums up a dispiriting weekend for football fans in Acadiana. Aside from LSU’s less-than-convincing win over West Virginia, there was little cause for dancing in the end zone. The gridiron grief began Saturday with Middle Tennessee State marching UL to the wood shed. The Blue Raiders had no Dasher, but the Cajuns weren’t blitzin’. Despite the NCAA suspension of their superstar quarterback, Dwight Dasher, MTSU piled up 427 yards of offense on an out-manned Cajun D, including 217 yards on the ground. Not to be outdone, Sunday gave us the story line for this young NFL season — hero to zero. Saints kicker Garrett Hartley, who set a Super Bowl record with three field goals over 40 yards, missed a 29-yard chip shot in overtime, dooming the Black & Gold to its first loss since Jan. 3. We’d like to order a Morten Andersen, and make it a double.

The irony is killing us. Former Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert, part owner of Environmental Compliance Solutions, was neither environmental nor compliant in pleading guilty to negligent operation of a water treatment facility — it’s a federal charge because it runs afoul of the Clean Water Act. Hebert paid a $50,000 fine and faces up to a year in prison (we’ll be surprised if he gets jail time). An inspection of ECS on June 2, 2009, by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revealed that wastewaters were bypassing the filtration system and were ultimately being discharged into the Commercial Canal located in the Port of Iberia. Hebert, according to the U.S. attorney, failed to maintain the required documentation, prepare reports and implement plans, and perform proper testing as mandated by the permit.

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