Additionally, the council is expected to go into closed session to discuss its litigation against Fontenot regarding copies of public records. Litigation discussion is among allowable exceptions to public meeting requirements.
Both sessions will follow regularly scheduled meetings of the public works and administrative/finance committees which begin at 6 p.m.
Fontenot has vetoed five more council ordinances, questioning the state and federal constitutionality of one and the authority of the council in relation to the others.
Nine votes of the 13-member panel are required to override.
“I have very serious concerns that the ordinance violates the constitutional rights guaranteed to citizens,” Fontenot noted in his message regarding the veto of an ordinance compelling any and all parish employees to cooperate with any investigations into operations of the parish government.
The ordinance passed this month levies fines and/or jail time for any employee found uncooperative.
It is an outgrowth of the disagreement between Fontenot and the council over what the administration’s obligations are regarding copying documents for the council’s investigation of the previous administration.
Fontenot noted the ordinance doesn’t define, “with specificity”, what failure to cooperate is and notes that it doesn’t specify whether the “persons conducting internal investigations are authorized by law to do so.”
He also believes the ordinance steps over the council’s bounds into the parish president’s authority over people he hires and supervises.
The council’s suit over Fontenot’s copies refusal is pending a hearing in Dist. Judge James Doherty, Jr.’s court. State law gives such litigation expedited hearing status. Once all parties are advised of the litigation, a hearing must be held within 10 days, barring any need to hold hearings on supplementary motions that might be filed.
Fontenot has indicated he plans to hire counsel rather than seek defense from another member of Dist. Atty. Earl Taylor’s staff. West is on Taylor’s staff.
Three of the vetoes are of legislation emanating from the budget back and forth between the parties since January. The council is determined to control spending; Fontenot contends that determination cannot go beyond authority given in the home rule charter.
He vetoed July 27 ordinances levying a 4 percent administrative fee on slot machine revenue because he says dedicating it to non-administration costs violates the charter’s established practices provisions, prohibition and restrictions on use of racino money which he says are contrary to the charter’s delegation of his authority and transfer of moneys from fund to fund without the council’s approval, another usurpation of the president’s authority, he says.
The fifth veto is of establishing a board to oversee the Delta Grand operation. He contends such oversight is the job, authority and responsibility of the parish president, the same position he took when vetoing last month an ordinance establishing a board to run the parish airport.
The council sustained that veto at its July meeting on a 6-6 vote.