Last week Lafayette City-Parish Council finalized a yearly budget that contained many pay raises for government employees; most notably a $100,000 raise for Lafayette Utilities System director Terry Huval. Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel joined “Mornings with Ken and Bernie” for his weekly “Lafayette Live” segment to discuss the controversial pay raise that caught so many off guard.

"You want to hide something put it in a public meeting", Durel commented when asked about the raises that were passed on the last day of budget hearings, "because we had around four unique individuals that showed up for the public hearings. At one point, Dee leaned over to me and said, 'do you realize there's not anyone here from the media?'"

The $100,000 raise for Huval was not in Durel's initial budget proposed to the council, though the City-Parish President says this kind of thing is exactly why the budget process exists.

If I had really put some thought into it I would have put it into the budget initially, but in conversations that I had and other things that brought it to light for me, I knew that the time to put the pay raise in was during the budget process. That's what the budget process is for. - Joey Durel

In the end, Durel says, the raise was a business decision. Huval's pay was not competitive with other system directors in his position, something the city would end up having to deal with sooner or later.

In the end this is the right thing to do, the truth is it should have been being done for the last 20 years. He should have been kept at market value.

To replace the position according to the research we did, to hire somebody just to do fiber would cost $200,000, and to hire somebody to replace Terry would cost about $300,000. We can either lose Terry and pay that much money anyway or we could keep him. - Joey Durel


To listen to the full interview, click the play button below: