Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who provides contract services to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office, received opinions from three state agencies clearing him to provide the services and vote on budget items involving the Sheriff's Office.

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Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux at a press conference April 9, 2019.

Sheriff Mark Garber's office distributed copies Monday of Boudreaux's letters seeking opinions from the Louisiana Attorney General, Louisiana Board of Ethics and Louisiana Legislative Auditor, as well as their responses. He sought the opinions at the request of the Sheriff's Office.

The documents were sent to the news media after it came to the attention of the Sheriff's Office that individuals were questioning Boudreaux's ability to provide contract services to the Sheriff's Office while serving on the council. Boudreaux has a company, To the Front To the Top Consultants, that helps the Sheriff's Office build strategic relationships, conducts outreach and recruits volunteers to promote social, educational and spiritual relationships between the community and the department.

Michael Lunsford, administrator of Citizens for a New Louisiana, formerly Lafayette Citizens Against Taxation, a group that operates a social media page opposing taxes, elected officials and candidates deemed not sufficiently conservative, posted an item Monday criticizing Boudreaux and Garber for not disclosing Boudreaux's financial connection to the Sheriff's Office before the councilman voted on a $1.7 million budget for Garber's office. Lunsford states Boudreaux should not vote on any budget item concerning the Sheriff's Office.

In December 2016, according to documents provided by the Sheriff's Office, Boudreaux asked the state Attorney General's Office if he would violate the state's dual office holding and dual employment law if he served on the council and entered a professional services contract with the Sheriff's Office to provide administrative and juvenile services, noting he would not be a salaried employee or receive a per diem for the work.

Boudreaux's 2018 personal finance disclosure statement filed with the Louisiana Ethics Administration shows he reported $40,000 in income from the Sheriff's Office and $25,000 from Lafayette Consolidated Government.

The Attorney General's Office, in its July 2017 response, said the dual office holding law is not applicable "because a contract is not considered a job compensated on a salary or per diem basis and does not constitute 'employment' as defined by" state law.

Boudreaux asked the Board of Ethics if the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics would prohibit him serving on the council if he entered a professional services contract with the Sheriff's Office, with funding coming from property and sales taxes or state revenue sharing.

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Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber attends an event to launch Parish Proud, and initiative of Keep Lafayette Beautiful, Wednesday, October 9, 2019, at the LITE Center in Lafayette, La.

In February, the board replied that there are no provisions prohibiting Boudreaux from entering the contract because it is not with the agency he represents. 

An emergency advisory opinion by the board of ethics in September concluded the ethics code does not prohibit Boudreaux from participating in council matters  involving funding for the Sheriff's Office to operate the jail because his contract is not affected by funding from the city-parish government.

Finally, in response to a request for an opinion from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, Boudreaux wrote in December 2016 that the auditor's office said they do not have a problem with his contract with the Sheriff's Office.

Boudreaux is introducing an ordinance Dec. 3 to allocate $600,000 to the Sheriff's Office to reinstate juvenile assessment center operations Garber shut down two weeks ago.

Garber also shut down a transitional work program last week and is notifying employees of layoffs. 

Lt. John Mowell, public information officer for the Sheriff's Office, declined Monday to say how many have been or will be laid off. The office is in the midst of transitions "to make ourselves stronger" despite financial concerns, he said.

Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.