LAFAYETTE, LA (KLFY) — Two groups in Lafayette met on President’s Day to question Mayor-President Josh Guillory. One was mostly in favor of his actions and policies, the other against them.
“The people are what is going to make a change we have to hold these people accountable”, urged Ian Girouard. He was one of many who came to Parc Sans Souci Monday night and attended Mayor-President Accountability Day.
In its first year as a University of Louisiana Lafayette group, the Student Action and Organizing Committee (SAOC) called the actions of their Mayor-President in question.
“There is some unrest with him”, Girouard admitted. “We’re not all pleased, and I do think it does put a little bit of pressure on him to know that, okay, people are willing to organize against.”
The group is taking a stand against dehumanizing incarcerated people and what they call mismanagement in the hiring and resignation of former Chief Administrative Officer Beth Guidry.
“We are here to say no more to this,” SAOC organizer Mark Mallory proclaimed over a megaphone.
Meanwhile, across town at Alesi’s Pizza House…
“Where else on this earth, can you congregate in a crowd like this and talk about issues that we may agree on, we may disagree on”, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said while introducing himself to a crowd.
The Concerned Citizens for Good Government of Lafayette Parish invited Guillory to give a state of the city and parish, but they spent most of the time in a question and answer session.
“They were actually asking him individual questions, and he was answering them as best he could,” Donna Pelletier recalled after the mayor-president had left.
From taxes to dredging, the deficit to surplus, Guillory answered his audience, but not where the students were concerned.
SAOC member Madison Price said he feels some parts of the community are getting special preference, “I feel for a long time now, the kind of upper class of Lafayette have focused on the Southside, and I think that Josh is the most extreme example of that sort of sentiment.”
Pelletier encouraged anyone who has concerns to engage directly with their representatives.
“You aren’t too concerned about it if you are not going to go to these meetings and get some answers,” he said.
Mayor-President Guillory said he values free speech of those oppose and support him and welcomes dialogue face to face.
“I don’t care what your background is. I don’t care if you are democrat or republican, but I happened to be a very proud conservative republican,” Guillory said. “I believe in limited government is a good thing and power to the people, but that doesn’t meet I have all the answers, and I’m proud to represent all the people of Lafayette, whether you voted for me or not.”
News 10 asked the Student Action and Organizing Committee why they didn’t ask Guillory their questions in person Monday night. They said it was more important to build community power than to bring individual concerns to the mayor-president.
Monday afternoon we asked Mayor-President Guillory’s office if he had heard of the accountability meeting. The office of the Mayor-President said it was not contacted by the organizers of the event.
Mayor-President Guillory said in a statement, “ I applaud my fellow citizens as they exercise their first amendment right to peacefully assemble. I wish them the best and am honored to serve as their Mayor-President”.