ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — At the St. Landry Parish court house, a judge has ruled in favor of Parish President, Jessie Bellard’s injunction.
This means that any investigation by the council into Bellard’s firings will be stopped at least for now.
Lance Person, Bellard’s attorney, said, “The termination decisions that Mr. Bellard has made as parish president, which the home rule charter gives him the sole discretion to make, those decisions should not be then second guessed by the council to determine whether or not this employee should have been terminated or whether a different discipline should have been given to them. That is the sole decision of Mr. Bellard.”
According to the judge, the council’s resolution into investigating employee firings not only lacked specifics, it also allowed the parish council to overstep in their responsibilities stated in the charter.
Because the charter is voted on by the residents of St. Landry parish, Bellard said it’s important to maintain the rules it states.
“This is the whole reason why we have two separate branches of government,” Bellard said. “I don’t hold them accountable for anything they do or don’t do, they don’t hold me accountable for anything I do. We’re going to keep the integrity of this office, it’s about the Parish President’s position and what this office does, and what this office is entitled to do. You do yours and I’ll do mine, then the people decide after the four years if you’ve done your job or not.”
With Monday’s result being a preliminary decision, Person said the council will have the option of revising their argument.
Until then, there will be no investigation into employee personnel files.
“It’s really up to the council to decide what they want to do, but I would guess they’re going to try to redraft it knowing what the judge ruled today,” Person said. “We would hope the council would go back and reword the investigation and fix the problem before we have to come fight this again in court. But for now, it’s stopped pending a final trial.”
There is currently no word on how long it will be before the final trial on the injunction.
Bellard and Person said they will be ready when the time comes.