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The Lafayette City Council meets Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Lafayette, La. Pictured from left, are Council members Andy Naquin, Liz Hebert, Pat Lewis, Nanette Cook and Glenn Lazard.

Two appointments made Tuesday by the Lafayette City Council round out the seven-person Protect the City committee that will evaluate the city's future as part of Lafayette Consolidated Government.

The City Council as a whole selected Stuart Breaux, a former assistant city-parish attorney who dealt primarily with planning, development and codes issues, and William Leyendecker, a retired educator and former recreation centers manager for LCG, to serve on the committee.

Each council member also appointed one person to the committee.

They include Joseph "Tag" Catalon, a long-time landman, appointed by District 1 Councilman Pat Lewis; Mark Pope, who worked 27 years in Lafayette Consolidated Government's environmental division, appointed by District 2 Councilman Andy Naquin; and Roddy Bergeron, who works as chief operating officer at Enterprise Data Concepts, appointed by Council Chairperson Liz Hebert.

Other committee members include Jan Swift, a former city-parish attorney and deputy secretary of state who was executive director of Upper Lafayette for 10 years, appointed by District 4 Councilperson Nanette Cook; and Tina Shelvin Bingham, who worked at LCG for more than 12 years as an engineering aide and planner and was appointed by District 5 Councilman Glenn Lazard.

The committee is expected to hold its first meeting in March. The ordinance unanimously adopted by the council Jan. 19 creating the committee calls for the group to meet as often as needed, but at least every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. The committee will cease to exist when it files a report with the City Council or six months after committee members are appointed, whichever comes first.

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The final report, the ordinance states, should address several questions, including how the City Council can best protect city of Lafayette tax dollars, how the City Council can best protect the city-owned Lafayette Utilities System, has consolidation lived up to the promises made when voters approved the Home Rule Charter in 1992, how has the city's share of the cost of LCG changed since consolidation took hold in 1996 and are city tax dollars spent outside the city of Lafayette.

Other questions raised in the ordinance which the City Council wants the committee to consider are whether deconsolidation would benefit city of Lafayette, residents, taxpayers and businesses; what are the possible savings to the city if it leaves LCG; and should the city of Lafayette elect its own mayor.

Lafayette Consolidated Government was created with the 1992 Home Rule Charter approved by voters and came into being in 1996. But only the city of Lafayette and the parish government consolidated. Five smaller municipalities in the parish retained their own mayors and councils.

Lafayette did not have a mayor or its own council, instead being served by a city-parish council until January 2020. In 2018, voters approved a charter amendment replacing the combined city-parish council with separate city and parish councils. But Lafayette still does not have its own mayor. Voters throughout the parish elect a mayor-president who serves as the city of Lafayette's mayor and the parish president.

After a year of clashing with Mayor-President Josh Guillory and his administration, along with the Parish Council over budget matters and who gets to vote on city funding issues, Lewis, who was council chairman in 2020, proposed the Protect the City Committee as a possible precursor to appointing a charter commission to consider charter amendments, including deconsolidation.


Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.