The Lafayette City-Parish Alignment Commission on Wednesday launched a six-month review to identify problems with Lafayette Consolidated Government and offer solutions.

The council in July voted to create the nine-person City-Parish Alignment Commission around the time the Protect the City Committee created by the City Council was wrapping up several months of studying whether city taxpayers and residents are better off as part of LCG or parting ways with the form of government created in 1996.

The City Council, on the recommendation of the Protect the City Committee, voted to appoint a charter commission to further investigate the matter, with breaking up consolidated government a possibility.

The Parish Council, whose members expressed opposition to deconsolidation, instead appointed the CPA Commission.

Parish Council Chairman John Guilbeau, a liaison between the council and commission, said Wednesday the CPA Commission will drive the direction of its review, identifying strenghts and weaknesses in the way LCG works and offering solutions to the problems identified.

"We’ve got to think outside the box," Guilbeau said. "We’ve got to look at the whole picture. Look at what’s working, what isn’t working."

It's a "daunting task," he said.

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The resolution creating the commission sets its term at six months from the first meeting, down from 24 months originally proposed, without the possibility of an extension. Guilbeau, however, said if the commission needs more time, the resolution can be amended to extend it. 

At its first meeting Wednesday, the CPA Commission elected Joseph "Bobby" Richard as chairman and former City-Parish Councilman and former Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison as vice chairman.

The next meeting is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 10 in city hall, 705 W. University Ave.

Voters in 1992 approved a new charter that combined some services of the city of Lafayette and Lafayette Parish. As a result, the city of Lafayette forfeited its own elected mayor and council, replaced by a city-parish president voted on by everyone in the parish, and a city-parish council. All other municipalities in the parish kept their ability to elect a city council and mayor.

Frustration mounted over the years because city-parish council members representing few city residents had an equal vote over spending city tax dollars and making other city decisions as those whose districts were mostly city residents. In 2018, voters amended the charter to create separate city and parish councils.

That should have improved things, but the mayor-president still was elected parish wide in 2019, his loyalties split between the city and the parish. Disagreements arose almost from the start, prompting the City Council to appoint the Protect the City Committee to consider at least splitting the mayor-president into separate positions to give city taxpayers more control over city tax dollars.

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