- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - The St. Bernard Parish Council this week will take up proposals that would amend the parish’s home rule charter to give the council more authority.

The New Orleans Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1ow5EZU ) the measures, introduced earlier this month by Council Chairman Guy McInnis, are slated to be voted on Tuesday. If approved by the council, they could be scheduled for a public vote in November.

Under one change, the Parish Council would be required to approve all contracts worth $25,000 or more. At present, the president approves all contracts.

Under another, the council would be able to hire its own staff, “including clerical assistants to the clerk of the council.” The charter currently allows the council to hire only a clerk.

Another proposed amendment would give the council more control over board appointments, by putting members in charge of submitting names for the parish president to choose from, rather than accepting the president’s single selection.

Parish President David Peralta said Friday that he opposes the proposed changes, which he said would push the parish back toward a police jury form of government, where the council ultimately controls both the legislative and executive branches.

Peralta and McInnis - considered likely opponents in the race for the parish’s top post next year - have different views of the policy jury setup, which was abandoned by the parish decades ago. McInnis believes it “wasn’t necessarily bad for our type of community,” but Peralta contends that it “doesn’t function well.”

“All this (package of amendments) does is it sets up a system that’s going to tie the administration’s hands completely, and it’s ridiculous,” he said.


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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