LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – We’re taking a deep dive into the letter Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory sent to the Louisiana Attorney General.
In the letter, Guillory asks Attorney General Jeff Landry to determine if an interim mayor-president should be chosen while he’s in rehab. Guillory then says he’s been advised the chairs of the Lafayette Parish and city councils either have attempted, or intend to attempt, to appoint a member of their councils to act as mayor-president.
In this letter News Ten exclusively obtained, Guillory outlines the reasons he believes no one should take over his position while he’s in rehab.
In the letter sent Wednesday, Guillory says the charter requires two things before a city or parish council member takes over. The mayor-president must be both absent and unavailable to Lafayette Parish for more than 48 hours.
Guillory says he will be outside of Lafayette Parish for about two weeks, however, Guillory’s stint in rehab is 21 days, which is three weeks. In his letter, Guillory also does not state he’s in rehab. He also argues while he won’t be in Lafayette Parish, he is still available. He says his CAI and city-parish attorney have 24-hour access to him. The mayor-president adds he’ll be available through multiple types of communication and can still electronically sign any documents. Guillory writes, “It is obvious that under no circumstance am I ‘unavailable to Lafayette Parish.'”
Chair of the Lafayette Parish Council A.B. Rubin admits there has been talk between the councils of appointing an interim mayor-president while Guillory is in rehab. He argues the word “unavailable” in the charter isn’t clear, and they need opinions from legal council. “I know they would like for us to do one thing, but we have to do what’s legal. Because there are ramifications than can happen if we do something harsh, and it’s not legal,” Rubin added.
Rubin also admits that Guillory’s administration has threatened fines and jail time if a council member steps into his role. “The fines and the jail time, that’s something that came across the pipe, and we want to make sure we’re right. We want to make sure we’re in the right standing whenever we make whatever decision we have to do,” Rubin told News Ten.
Right now, that decision is in the hands of Attorney General Jeff Landry. Once he gives his opinion on the matter, Guillory will either be able to remain in power or an interim leader will be appointed.
In his letter to the attorney general, Guillory also referenced an email from 2014. The city-parish attorney at the time gave his opinion on the issue when the then parish president was out of the state. The attorney said because the then mayor-president was available to Lafayette Parish through email and phone, he should still retain his powers and duties under the charter.
The mayor-president checked himself into rehab Monday for a possible alcohol addiction and PTSD. He will stay in the rehab facility for 21 days. Guillory has 16 more days in the rehab facility.