Written by The Independent Staff
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
We admire Cajundome Director Greg Davis’ civic engagement and applaud his activism in the public education arena. So it was a positive development last week when Davis voluntarily resigned as chairman of the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council. The announcement came about a week after the Lafayette Parish School System withdrew as a member of the council amid concerns that LaPESC would try to influence school board elections this fall. Davis has been an outspoken critic of the school system. In announcing his resignation privately to the LaPESC board and in speaking about it later with us, Davis acknowledged this adversarial relationship as the motive for stepping down. “I just felt personally that with myself as chair of LaPESC that that would be an impediment to the Lafayette Parish School System coming back and rejoining LaPESC, and so I made a personal decision to step aside for that reason,” he told us. Davis will remain an active member of LaPESC, but his withdrawal as chairman is likely to restore a level of amity to the dialogue about our public schools. We hope the LPSS reciprocates and reconsiders its membership.
There is much that is bad in Dr. Ali Ghalambor’s impending retirement as not only a petroleum engineering professor at UL Lafayette but his resignation as department head, as well as his agreement to reimburse the university more than $84,000. An internal university audit, first reported by The Advocate, suggests Ghalambor accepted travel reimbursements from the university while also accepting them from the institutions he visited over a four-year period. The audit also finds the professor was paid more than $42,000 for “conducting activities that appear to be outside of his working hours or responsibilities.” Ghalambor, however, has apparently not been asked to pay back the 42 grand. That UL officials suspected financial guile on the professor’s part as long ago as 2004 suggests the double dipping — if proved true — goes back even further, possibly a decade. But as it now stands, Ghalambor is being allowed to cut his losses, pay back a portion of the allegedly ill-gotten gains, and walk away. District Attorney Mike Harson is said to have the case but has so far declined to speak to the media about it, which suggests Ghalambor will elbow his way into retirement without so much as a slap on the wrist.
God willing, State Rep. Rickey Hardy will remain active and lucid late into life. More people are doing it these days, and Hardy is a sharp fellow. So why the dull legislation to bar persons 70 years old and older from running for office or holding elected positions? The Lafayette Democrat’s bill prescribes an amendment to the Louisiana constitution proposing just that. “You’re taking up a seat. You’re no longer energized,” Hardy told The Daily Advertiser. Hold on there, whipper snapper; there are plenty of elderly lawmakers who are energetic and mentally supple. We just can’t think of any. Hardy has prefiled more bills than any other lawmaker, as best we can tell, and many of them are good ideas that deserve consideration. This isn’t one of them. But no harm no foul: In a culture like the South that honors its elders, Hardy’s geriatric gerrymandering won’t make it out of committee.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
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