The Lafourche Parish Council voted to remove two volunteer board members during tonight’s council meeting.
After discussion, the council voted 5-2 with one abstention and one absence to remove Drainage District No. 1 Board member and chairman Albert Guidry.
The council discussed Guidry’s removal in open session upon a request from Guidry with the help of his attorney John Bourgeois.
How they voted:
Yes: Noonie Autin, Michael Gros, Bo Melvin, Corey Perrillioux and Luci Sposito.
No: Jerry Jones and Daniel Lorraine.
Councilman James Bourgeois abstained from the vote and Councilman Jerry LaFont was absent.
Autin told the council and audience that he was seeking Guidry’s removal because of a failure to comply with a public records request.
In December, the drainage board was hand-delivered a public records request by Legislative Auditor Reggie Bagala. The board failed to respond to the request within the state-required three days. Communication was not established until January, and as of Tuesday, not all of the requested records had been received, Autin said.
Bourgeois requested the matter be held over for another meeting so that he could present witnesses for his client’s defense. Autin declined to withdraw his motion, so discussion continued.
Two letters were presented to the board during its December meeting, Bagala said, conflicting with statements giving by Guidry that said only one copy was presented and ended up leaving the meeting in the wrong hands.
Guidry did not deny receiving the request at the meeting.
“This is totally unacceptable,” Autin said. “The law was not followed.”
Part of the public records request asked for copies of audio or video recordings of board meetings that are required under state law.
Bagala said he has not received those recordings.
When asked if the board’s secretary records the meetings, Guidry told the council “she’s supposed to” and said there had been issues with the purchase of a recorder in the past.
“Someone dropped the ball,” Melvin said. “If you can’t organize a board and run it, there’s a severe lack of judgement and responsibility.”
The council entered into closed session to discuss the removal of Adams, who did not enter the council chambers for discussion.
After returning to open discussion, the council voted for his removal.
The council also voted and 6-0, with two abstentions, to remove Fire Protection District No. 8-A Board member Michael Adams.
How they voted:
Yes: Autin, Gros, Jones, Melvin, Perrillioux and Sposito.
Abstained: Bourgeois and Lorraine.
Sposito, the council chairwoman, declined to comment on the reason for Adams’ removal, citing personnel matters.
Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.