afayette Consolidated Government is bracing for a shake-up when incoming mayor-president Josh Guillory takes over next month.
Guillory plans to replace leadership in three key departments — public works, community development, and police. But, it appears changes at the police department won’t be so easy. Guillory says wants better leadership at the police department, and has asked for the chief’s resignation. Meanwhile, LPD Chief Toby Aguillard says he will not resign, and he will fight to keep his position.
“Mr. Guillory told me more than once during the course of the campaign that I had nothing to worry about. He liked the work we were doing, and that he had heard great things about the Lafayette Police Department. So, it was really a big surprise,” said Aguillard.
Chief Aguillard says he met with Guillory on Thursday afternoon. At that time, the chief says he was told he could resign or be fired. The chief says he said he would not resign, and if fired, he would appeal his firing to the Civil Service Commission.
“I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong. I think we have all the stats to prove it. I think the community appreciates what we do. And, I love running this department. And I also love living in Acadiana, and I’m not interested in going anywhere else or doing any other thing,” said Aguillard.
Aguillard says part of the police department’s improvement under his leadership since 2016 comes from building trust with the public through community policing — and a 98-percent rate in solving murder cases is proof.
“This is not an attack on any individual. And, this not something you wake up and you want to do,” said Guillory.
Guillory says he has to make some tough choices in his new position. He says making changes is about improving efficiency, accountability, and leadership.
“I have asked the chief of police to resign. I respect his decisions. I respect his actions. I respect his choices, but I also respect the process. And, I know the process will work things out, but I know what leadership is. And, I know we can do better. And, my decisions are made in good faith. And, made very objectively.”
Guillory is expected to stick to his guns and fire Chief Aguillard on January 6, when he takes office.
Chief Aguillard says he will then appeal the decision to the Civil Service Commission.
Guillory is also expected to replace the Director of Community Development and the Director of Public Works. Those positions do not have civil service protections.