Lafayette Parish voters on Saturday changed the title of city-parish government’s chief executive from “president” to “mayor-president,” a new designation proposed by outgoing City-Parish President — now Mayor-President — Joey Durel.
With all 128 precincts reporting, the vote to change the title was 32,544 for and 19,657 against.
Durel, who leaves office in January after three terms, had long bemoaned the president title, saying in an interview earlier this month that the concept of mayor is much easier to grasp. he is forever explaining what he actually does.
“You say city-parish president, and no one knows what that is,” Durel said in an interview before the election. “It’s just a never-ending conversation. They hear the word mayor, and it gives them a point of reference.”
The title change was one of two proposed amendments to the constitution-like city-parish charter that were on the ballot Saturday.
In the second, voters approved a proposal to expand membership of the City-Parish Planning and Zoning Commission from five to seven members.
Those voting to approve the proposal numbered 31,849 versus 19,786 who voted against.
Durel had argued the expanded membership could help address what he said has been an issue of having enough members to reach the legal quorum required to do business.
A five-member commission needs a quorum of three members to meet, and a seven-member commission would need a quorum of four, which might be easier to get with a larger overall commission.
At least one commissioner, Bruce Conque, opposed the proposal, saying the lack of a quorum has not been an issue for several years.
He also said expanding the membership would raise the number of appointments drawn from unincorporated areas of the parish from two to three, meaning rural commissioners would have too much say over zoning, which is in place only within the city limits.