Lawyer: Lafayette paid out nearly $1 million in unconstitutional severance, practice must stop


LAFAYETTE, La. (The Advertiser)- Lafayette government paid out nearly $1 million in unconstitutional severance payments to hundreds of employees, and the practice must top, according to a legal analysis given Wednesday to the city-parish board that oversees employee matters.

George Armbruster III, a lawyer for the Lafayette City-Parish Civil Service Board, said numerous legal opinions and court rulings show the rule requiring the two weeks’ severance payouts for Lafayette Consolidated Government employees “is in violation of state Constitution.”

Armbruster recommend the board “initiate the process to delete (the provision) from the civil service rules,” the Advertiser reported.

That rule required nearly $1 million in extra severance payouts for 487 Lafayette government employees since 2010. It applies to about 1,300 of Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 2,300 employees, Civil Service Director Adam Marcantel said.

Armbruster cited a 1985 decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Jefferson Parish that ruled severance pay for government employees was in violation of the Louisianan Constitution, which requires “the funds, credit, property, or things of value of the state or of any political subdivision shall not be loaned, pledged, or donated to or for any person, association, or corporation, public or private.”

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