FAA requests removal of Lafayette’s African-American appointment ordinance requirement on the airport commission

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) The Lafayette City-Parish council has its back against the wall.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants the council to change an ordinance believed to be discriminatory based on race.

The FAA is referring to the city council’s ordinance of appointing people to the Lafayette Airport Commission.

The city ordinance requires at least one (1) of the appointments be African American.

On Tuesday, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory informed the council that he supports delaying the final vote on the FAA’s request to remove the ordinance.

“I support this deferral because there were a lot of questions. I ask that this council also support the deferral not only to answer councilman Lewis’s questions but also councilman Rubin asked; and anybody else,” Guillory stated.

Lafayette Airport Commission attorney, Todd Swartzenbruber explained the city-council is the one with the ordinance that the FAA rules non-compliant.

“The ordinance its self has to be amend by both the parish council and city council because it’s a joint ordinance of both councils,” Swartzenbruber added.

Airport Commissioner Samuel Pierre is an African- American commissioner the council appointed back in November.

“It was probably written with a positive intent in mind for inclusion; to have someone of color or African American to give them that opportunity,” Pierre noted.

Airport Commission Chairperson Paul Segura has reservations about the FAA’s ordinance removal request.

Segura says the FAA has kept a close watch on issues of compliance.

“We’re constantly reviews by the FAA and we work with them constantly about compliance,” Segura said.

Segura explains even with the at least one African American appointment the Airport Commission has two African American members.

“I’m a little surprised they believe that the way the ordinance is written down is discriminatory,” Segura mentioned.

The council was reminded the FAA provided  $60 million dollars for the new terminal, which cannot open without the FAA’s support.

Parish councilman Abraham Rubin offers an option to consider.

“They’re saying it’s a violation of federal law for us to have this seat; to set aside a minority seat,” the city attorney added.

“Can we reword it?” Rubin asked.

“I don’t know how we would reword it,” the city attorney replied.

The FAA proposal will be re-introduced for final adoption July 6, instead of June 15.

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