OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish Council delayed action Wednesday night on a committee request to remove council attorney Chad Pitre in matters involving parish government before the Solid Waste Commission.
Pitre, who was appointed parish council attorney earlier this year, is also the attorney for the commission.
The District Attorney’s Office appoints the attorneys for both the parish council and Solid Waste Commission.
In an interview after the meeting, Pitre said he feels he should avoid any potential conflict of interest by providing legal advice on issues that concern both the parish council and the Solid Waste Commission.
“The same attorney should not represent two parties that may come into conflict. That’s a matter of professionalism for anyone in the legal profession in this state,” said Pitre.
According to a letter addressed to the council by District Attorney Earl Taylor, Pitre informed him that he “has a conflict concerning any matter involving St. Landry Parish Solid Waste and the St. Landry Parish government and that he has recused himself in these matters.”
In the letter, Taylor says he is appointing Charles Cravins to represent the parish council in any matters involving the Solid Waste Commission.
Taylor wrote that he was requesting the parish council table the issue of appointing another council attorney until it meets with Pitre about the issue.
The Solid Waste Commission has at times provided funding for parish government road and maintenance projects. The parish council appoints several of the individuals who serve on the commission.
Several months ago, the parish council also requested the commission provide extra garbage containers or collect garbage in the rural areas twice weekly.
Members of the council’s Public Works Committee at an Aug. 5 meeting also asked that Pitre prepare a proposed ordinance that would prevent the Solid Waste Commission from accepting garbage from other parishes into the solid waste landfill.
At the same meeting, council member Tim LeJeune had a motion approved that the DA’s Office appoint someone else to represent parish government in solid waste meters.
In another matter Wednesday, the council delayed action asking Pitre to prepare a request to the state Attorney General’s Office for a legal opinion on whether parish government has authority over the Solid Waste Commission.