Jefferson Parish voters to decide a slew of charter propositions

Jefferson Parish voters to decide a slew of charter propositions

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard has been in federal prison for more than a year, but voters in his old parish will decide a charter proposition Saturday that is related to his flawed ethics.

There are 11 charter propositions on the ballot, and we look a some of the key measures.

Proposition 2 would spell out in the charter that the parish president is a full-time employee who cannot have outside employment.

"That position should actually be a full-time position that actually has one job, and that's to run the daily operations of our parish government," said Parish Councilman Ben Zahn.

Current Parish President John Young said he's already imposed such restrictions on himself. Proponents said it would reduce opportunities for conflicts of interests.

"Certainly, it will go a long way and I think the IG's office will institutionalize those reforms and further help that situation," said Young.

"We're for it because he's running a big parish government and we think it's an appropriate limitation," said Janet Howard with the Bureau of Governmental Research that studied each of the proposed charter changes.

|And then there's Proposition 3 which deals with council ordinances and layovers.

"It's not a good idea, because right now there's a requirement that the public be given notice through the official journal of ordinances at least a week ahead of the meeting, and this eliminates that notice requirement. And while there's added a six-day layover period and notice is given on the website, there's nothing in the charter that requires the website notice be put up in advance. A week is the least you can do for giving the public notice, I think," Howard said.

Proposition 8 would allow funds remaining in the parish inspector general's budget at the end of the year to carry over to the next year.

"If we didn't have the access funds the problem is we would essentially have to leave issues on the table. We already do to some degree because our staffing is not particularly large," said IG David McClintock.

He acknowledges some voiced concerns that his office could amass a war chest, of sorts.

"So I readily agreed to capping it, and we agreed to cap it essentially at what the previous year's millage was, so essentially it would be about $1.2 million. That allows me to build up enough that I can deal with pretty much anything that comes up, but not to be able to build up so much that it's unpalatable," he said.

"We think that's a good idea because it increases his independence," said Howard.

Zahn favors the inspector general keeping no more than $800,000 in reserve. He thinks any funds over that amount should revert back to the general fund.

"Remember this is your street lighting money. We might need some street lighting that needs to be done throughout the parish," said Zahn.

Proposition 10 would create a special fund to hold proceeds from the lease or sale of the two parish owned hospitals, East Jefferson and West Jefferson Medical Center.

"I think it's good to lock that money away until we figure out where we're going from here," said Young.

"It requires to be put in a trust fund which is a good idea, but it also has very onerous restrictions on what can be spent from that. We think that might be a problem," said Howard.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.