Two engineering firms are asking a state District Court to force Livingston Parish President Mike Grimmer to follow the instructions of the Livingston Parish Council and pay the firms for road planning.
Alvin Fairburn and Associates and McLin & Associates say they did the engineering on a list of roads given them by the council.
The issue is the latest skirmish in a long battle between Grimmer and a majority of the council over the parish’s road overlay program.
Grimmer couldn’t be reached Monday afternoon, but he said previously he wouldn’t pay the $453,000 bill despite a resolution by the council more than a week ago instructing him to pay it within five days.
He said he wouldn’t pay that amount, but only what the council owes, which he maintains is only the engineering done for road work the parish can afford this year.
Grimmer said he didn’t give written authorization for the firms to plan $11.5 million in roadwork and the parish can afford to do only $3.5 million in roadwork this year.
He estimated the cost of the work done by the engineering firms for this year’s road overlay program is about $170,000.
That’s a “red herring,” according to the firms’ memorandum in support of their petition for writ of mandamus, a legal call to force an action, in this case payment to the firms.
What is relevant is that the council authorized the contract, authorized the work, accepted the work and ordered the payment, the firms maintain in their filing.
The Livingston Parish Home Rule Charter, the constitution of the parish government, says the council may command the payment of parish funds, according to the memorandum filed in court by the firms.
The memo says Grimmer’s position on whether he authorized the work and how much is owed “are simply irrelevant here.”
The parish president has no veto authority in such a case, but “Grimmer’s refusal is tantamount to a veto of a council resolution — which the Home Rule Charter prohibits,” the memorandum continues.
The case was originally allotted to Judge Doug Hughes, of 21st Judicial District Court, but Hughes recused himself and the case was allotted to Judge Zoey Waguespack, according to the Livingston Parish Clerk of Court’s Office.