Lafayette City-Parish Attorney Greg Logan attempted last week to fire the City Council's special attorney, but City Council Chairman Pat Lewis fired back, saying Logan has no authority to do so.
Letters and emails obtained by The Acadiana Advocate detail the latest episode in a struggle pitting the City Council against Mayor-President Josh Guillory, his legal team and the Parish Council regarding authority over city tax dollars and interpreting the home rule charter.
The City Council hired Lea Anne Batson, of Baton Rouge, as its special counsel Sept. 1. Logan had advised the council it may be a violation of the home rule charter and illegal. Guillory vetoed the city ordinance in which the council hired Batson, but the council overrode the veto on Sept. 15.
In a Sept. 24 letter Logan told Batson she was terminated. He advised Batson in a Sept. 18 letter to provide him with a copy of her contract along with other research and documents supporting the council's argument that it had the authority to hire its own attorney. Logan said Batson did not provide the documents or respond to his request.
The contract he obtained from the council clerk along with the ordinance, Logan wrote, are "null and void" for various reasons. He has opined that the charter says the city of Lafayette, not the City Council, is authorized to hire a special attorney but only with a written contract for special services approved by the council. The ordinance states the City Council was hiring Batson, he said.
Logan said the contract and ordinance also are not valid because they usurp his authority as legal adviser to the city and City Council. Further, he wrote, any special counsel serves under him and Batson's "refusal to respond to my inquiry as purported special counsel is in flagrant violation of the charter and further evidence of the unlawfulness of the ordinance and contract."
Lewis responded in a Sept. 25 email that Logan does not have the right to fire Batson "for any reason."
He attached a copy of a 1993 ordinance when the pre-consolidation City Council hired a special counsel to ensure the city's home rule charter, along with City Council ordinances and resolutions are properly administered.
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