All we can say is it’s about time. Thanks to City-Parish Councilman William Theriot, we now know what a mess the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority has been for God knows how long. The Legislative Auditor slammed the public trust’s board and its longtime attorney in an advisory services report (it wasn’t even a full-blown audit), noting that every year since 2008 two different independent audit firms reported to the entity that it had significant deficiencies and material weaknesses in its accounting and financial statements. The deficiencies were still present when the Legislative Auditor came calling. Shockingly, the LPTFA does not even prepare or adopt an annual budget, despite that it is required to do so by state law, and — worst of all — LPTFA’s lack of an ethics code and training for its board members was likely a factor in ethics charges against its former chairman, Greg Gachassin. Those charges, filed by the Board of Ethics last year, prompted Theriot and community activists like Carol Ross to call for an inquiry into its operations. These are only a few of the problems cited in the report. Let’s hope the council demands some answers from LPTFA’s board and its attorney, Richard Becker.
It was with shock and dismay that Lafayette learned longtime Festival International de Louisiane Executive Director Dana Baker abruptly resigned her position and parted ways with the board. To outside observers festival operations were running like the German rail system, with our beloved April shindig getting bigger and better — almost to the point of outgrowing downtown Lafayette — each year during her tenure. What was inexplicable in the divorce was how tight-lipped both sides were in revealing the reason for the departure, leading to no small amount of speculation and some unfortunate rumors that painted a picture of parochialism and small-town politics run amok. Baker’s abrupt departure also precluded implementing a smooth succession plan. When a respected executive at a beloved entity resigns suddenly and without reason, something’s up, and in this case silence isn’t golden — it’s ugly.
What used to be known as the “Sore Four” on the Lafayette Parish School Board has grown into a simple(-minded) majority with the spoiling of board member Tehmi Chassion, and they’re making Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives look downright cooperative. Their goal, evidently, is to oppose Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper at every turn, students and schools be damned, and they’ve taken throwing the baby out with the bath water to new lows. Most recently the board voted 5-4 to yank half the funding from an innovative aspect of Cooper’s Turnaround Plan that would provide teen moms in the school district with special educational services and training along with childcare. The program planned for Northside High is also designed to get those teen moms’ children academically prepared for kindergarten, and upon graduation, the mothers would receive certification qualifying them to work in child care. Chassion, who represents Northside High, joined the obstructionist faction on the board in voting to pull the funding.
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Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
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By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.