NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on Tuesday adopted recommendations outlining how its proposed Home Rule Charter Commission will be populated, funded and function as the parish strives to shift to a parish president/parish council form of government.
The set of recommendations came from the jury’s five-member Selection Criteria Committee, which met last week to iron out many of the preliminary details surrounding how to present voters with a proposed charter that would, if approved, serve as the bible for any governmental change.
Although the Police Jury sailed through the committee’s six recommendations, there was some emotionally-charged back-and-forth debate Tuesday night regarding the committee’s suggestion to prohibit more than three jurors from serving on the 11-member Home Rule Charter Commission.
“I don’t understand why a juror would want to appoint someone from their district to serve in districts that people elected you to represent them,” Juror Albert Dukes said, kicking off the debate. “These people will have the power to rearrange the entire government body of the parish. I’m not willing to give up my right. I want to serve on the commission myself.”
Charter commissions are tasked with developing the policies and procedures by which a parish president and parish council would govern. The commission also paints the picture of how the parish government would look by determining how many seats would be available on the parish’s legislative body.
A majority of jurors have already said they’d rather appoint a qualified registered voter from their districts to serve on the commission, which Juror Justin Cox feels is needed for public buy-in to the change.
“There are many different points of view that need to be contributed to the process,” he said. “We shouldn’t be the overriding authority on this.”
At the urging of the selection committee, the Police Jury adopted stipulations saying 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.
Among the gaggle of other related recommendations approved Tuesday night:
Any member of the charter commission cannot miss more than two consecutive meetings or four total.
Interested residents have until noon Sept. 11 to submit applications to join the charter commission. The Police Jury will appoint members at its Sept. 22 meeting.
The Police Jury set aside $5,000 to fund the commission’s expected expenditures.
The jury’s staff secretaries will be paid and serve as the charter commission’s secretary to obtain minutes of the proceedings.
Once seated, 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.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.