Lafayette Council Member Don Bertrand Postpones Charter Ordinance, Hopeful For Fifth Vote
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- City-Parish Council member Don Bertrand believes "there [is] a very good chance" that supporters of an ordinance to reconvene the Lafayette Charter Commission will pick up the one vote they need to allow the ordinance to pass through introduction.
Bertrand postponed the item until the Sept. 17 council meeting. According to Bertrand, at least two unidentified council members have requested additional information concerning the charter commission ordinance, giving him hope that council discussion on the topic will eventually be allowed.
"I believe them to be sincere and legitimate questions, and I wanted to give them that opportunity to get that information," Bertrand said. "If I hadn't believed it was...a sincere effort, I would not have postponed it."
Critics of consolidation say the City of Lafayette has never been given the opportunity to choose its own destiny. The current structure of the Lafayette City-Parish Council allows council members who represent districts outside the city limits to vote on items that only apply to the city.
"The only city in Lafayette Parish that does not have autonomy on making decisions on what goes on in that municipality is the City of Lafayette," Bertrand said. "That's been the argument with this hybrid government since the beginning."
It's really not what the original vote [for consolidation] intended. It's not what the people thought they were going to get.
Even today, Bertrand said he still finds people who aren't aware of the city's unique relationship with the rest of the parish or that surrounding municipalities are the only ones within the parish that have autonomy.
"When it comes to issues relating to the City of Lafayette," Bertrand said, "the City of Lafayette deserves the same autonomy as any other municipality."
Lafayette City-Parish Council members in August struck down on a 5-4 vote the same introductory ordinance, surprising Bertrand and City-Parish President Joey Durel, who questioned the patriotism of those who voted 'no' on the measure.
Bertrand late last month vowed to continue bringing the item before the council until he garnered the votes needed to allow council discussion.
To listen to the full interview, click on the 'Play' button below.