City council meetings in New Iberia will not have council or mayor announcements for the first time since 2005, come Tuesday evening.
A move New Iberia Mayor Hilda Curry says may prevent the council from breaking state open meeting laws.
"Legal counsel has warned us that we are straying from the guidelines that have been set by the state law, where agenda items have to be advertised," says Curry.
She says not only has the council been advised that issues they are bringing up during announcements are more relevant to agenda items, she says she personally feels the atmosphere is becoming unprofessional.
"(There are) items that are not on the agenda or personal attacks on department heads and other individuals," says Curry.
Council Member Raymond "Shoe-Do" Lewis disagrees.
"The rule has always been that our announcement has to be related to city business, well when you close a fire station that's city business," says Lewis in reference to the temporary closing of the firehouse on Weeks St.
Curry instituted the announcements section upon taking office 8 years ago, which Mayor Pro Tem Dan Doerle says is not common in many other cities.
"I did check with other cities. Those cities speak about what's on the agenda, so this is something she implemented to help the council members have a say on items, so she's the one that implemented it when she took office so I guess she has a right to take it off," says Doerle.
Aside from the legal aspect of the announcements Council Member Natalie Robin says it's impossible to have a discussion on the fly—without warning or pretext—and doesn't mind seeing the announcements section go. Besides she says there is still room for legitimate announcements in the meeting.
"If you have an announcement about a city event going on you can call the mayor's office and they'll put it on the agenda and they'll get to announce it. But as far as being an open floor, it's kinda getting a little excessive recently," says Robin.
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