- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014

WESTLAKE, La. (AP) - The City Council plans to hire an outside attorney to represent the city and a councilman in a lawsuit filed by Westlake’s former chief administrative officer.

Lonnie Smart filed the suit in October 2013, alleging that Councilman Wally Anderson misrepresented statements by prosecutors and law enforcement officers in an effort to have Smart’s position eliminated. A reply to the lawsuit has not yet been filed.

The American Press reported (https://bit.ly/1eOXZNb) the council made the hiring decision Wednesday at a special meeting.

Mayor Dan Cupit and City Attorney John Van Norman declined to comment. Smart, who is still an employee of Westlake, did not attend the meeting.

Anderson and fellow Councilman John Cradure said they will answer the lawsuit, but would offer no further comment . The two took allegations against Smart to authorities in mid-2012.

An audit released in March 2013 found a miscalculation and the incorrect recording of hours worked led to Smart being overpaid for compensatory overtime, but the city said he was in the process of repaying the money.

Anderson and Cradure met with representatives of the Calcasieu Parish district attorney’s Office and the Calcasieu Sheriff ‘s Office in July 2012 to discuss allegations against Smart. The lawsuit cites an email Anderson sent to the four other council members on Oct. 26, 2012 concerning discussions on removing Smart from office.

The City Council unanimously voted on Oct. 31, 2012, to adopt a budget that cut the $49,000 in funding for the city’s chief administrative officer.


Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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