Business owners, CPAs, attorneys, engineers and high-ranking executives are all vying for appointments to Pointe Coupee’s Home Rule Charter Commission, the group that will draft a proposed new government plan for the parish.
At the close of Friday’s noon deadline, 27 local residents had submitted their names and credentials for consideration to the Police Jury, which is expected to make final appointments for the 11-member commission at its Sept. 22 regular meeting.
The full jury on Tuesday is expected to pore over the list of names and résumés when its Selection Criteria Committee meets.
“I’m very impressed with the professional credentials of the people that have applied,” said Juror Justin Cox, chairman of the Selection Criteria Committee. “The amount of people to apply is impressive. Usually when we have openings for other committees, the number is much lower, believe it or not.”
Charter commissions are tasked with developing for a parish home rule charters, which are essentially the policies and procedures that define the roles and authority granted to proposed executive and legislative branches of parish governments.
Most parishes with home rule charters have parish council/parish president forms of government — a transition the Police Jury is looking to make.
The charter commission will have up to 18 months to draft a charter, which the Police Jury will have to present to the voters in a parishwide election.
Capt. Steve Juge, warden of the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail, has submitted his name for appointment, and the board of directors for the parish’s Farm Bureau also made two recommendations for consideration, according to submissions The Advocate received last week.
“We feel this is a very important move for our parish and we would like to be involved since agriculture is such a huge part of our parish economy,” George LaCour, president of the Pointe Coupee Parish Farm Bureau, wrote in both recommendations to the parish.
In another letter of intent, local business owner and former financier Arthur Ewing touted his background with helping him better understand the importance of checks and balances and accountability.
“Should the voters decide that the Home Rule Charter is the best option for the parish going forward, I want to ensure that the proposed form of government is effective, representative of, and accountable to the people of the parish,” Ewing wrote.
Roger Richard, president and CEO of Richard and Associates in New Roads, wrote in his letter to the parish, “we have to get this Home Rule charter right the first time in order to ensure a fair and consistent form of government for the citizens of Pointe Coupee Parish.”
Richard’s résumé includes more than 40 years of experience in international banking and global trade. He also currently serves on the parish’s False River Airpark Commission and 911 Communications District board.
“We definitely have a good group to choose from,” Juror Cornell Dukes, who also sits on the Selection Criteria Committee, said last week. “The people I’ve talked to, interested in serving, are pretty sharp.”
Each juror, except jury President Melanie Bueche, gets to make one recommendation to the proposed charter commission. Bueche forfeited her right to make a selection since state law restricts charter commission membership to a maximum of 11 people.
Upon the recommendation of the Selection Criteria Committee, the Police Jury has limited the number of police jurors who can serve on the charter commission to 3 jurors. However, most have expressed very little interest in serving.
Cox is hoping to have at least one juror sit on the charter commission because he feels their institutional knowledge is critical.
“They will just be a good source of information for the commission,” he said.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.