NEW ROADS — The 11-member commission that could reshape Pointe Coupee Parish government through the creation of a home rule charter would likely be made up of no more than three members from the parish’s Police Jury, members of a Selection Criteria Committee recommended Tuesday night.
The five-member selection committee, made up of police jurors Justin Cox, Glen Ray Cline, Cornell Dukes, Kyle Olinde and Russell Polar, also recommended letting any jurors not serving on the Home Rule Charter Commission to fill the remaining seats through single-member appointments.
Tuesday night was the first time the Police Jury’s Selection Criteria Committee met after the Police Jury last week adopted a resolution to create a Home Rule Charter Commission over the next 30 days in an effort to transition the parish from a police jury form of government to a parish president and parish council system.
Much of the discussion during the committee’s first meeting was spent on how the Police Jury would populate the charter commission.
“I don’t think we need any jurors,” Cline said during the early part of Tuesday night’s discussion. “I think jurors need to stay out of this. I’ve looked at other parishes and none of them had any jurors on their commissions.”
“I’d like to see the least amount of jurors,” Olinde chimed in. “I’d rather it consist of more laypeople. I have four wonderful choices in my district already.”
Charter commissions are tasked with developing the policies and procedures by which a parish president and parish council will govern. The commission also paints the picture of how the parish government will look by determining how many seats will be available on the parish’s legislative body.
The charter commission will have up to 18 months to draft a charter the Police Jury is required to present to voters through a parishwide election.
A majority of the committee members shared in the belief that jurors can provide much-needed institutional knowledge to the commission.
However, Cox, the committee’s chairman, said community buy-in into a home rule charter requires much more public input. “If we’re going to have the commission be successful, we have to have a majority of laypeople submitting their ideas,” he said.
It also was recommended that jurors who choose to sit on the Home Rule Charter Commission will forfeit the right to appoint someone from their districts to fill the rest of the commission’s vacant seats.
In the event more than three jurors express interest in sitting on the charter commission, the committee is proposing the Police Jury elect the three jurors to fill those spots.
The committee also sailed through votes recommending the allocation of $5,000 from the parish’s general fund to the home rule charter for various expenditures like advertisement, travel and legal fees the members may incur.
The committee also recommended advertising for applications from the public for volunteers to serve on the charter commission.
The committee’s recommendations will go before the full Police Jury on Aug. 11 for final approval.
Editor’s note: This article was changed on Aug. 5, 2015, to note that the Police Jury would need to elect members to serve on the charter commission if more than three jurors exp ress interest in serving on it.
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