OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — The St. Landry Parish council voted Thursday night to hire an attorney and take on the parish president in court.

St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard filed an injunction this week to pause an investigation into the firings of nearly two dozen government employees.

The investigation began in March when the parish council unanimously voted to look into into the firings of 21 former employees in St. Landry Parish government. Many claimed they’d been wrongfully fired by the parish president and parish government departments.

The goal of the parish council’s investigation was to figure out if the terminations were justifiable. The parish president’s injunction, however, put a pause on the investigation. Now the issue is going to court.

“I feel that if a council votes 11-0, that leaves no choice but to do an investigation,” St. Landry Parish Council Chairperson Jerry Red told News 10. “To be honest, I thought that an investigation had to be done because we had 21 employees fired in a one-year period of time. That’s a lot of people to be fired at a certain period of time.”

Red says the council wants the investigation to be done.

“All we are saying is look, let the investigation take place,” he said. “Whatever happens, let it happen. If it comes back clean, we go back doing our business like before, but if there is a problem, it needs to be fixed.”

Bellard’s injunction, however, means the investigation is paused. The parish council now has to go to court to see if the investigation can continue.

The issue, Red says, is that before Bellard even took office parish government created rules and procedures for its employees, but it was done in a resolution. He says Bellard believes it should have been done instead in an ordinance, as it holds more weight.

“That’s where it’s left in limbo that he doesn’t have to really follow a resolution, more or less follow an ordinance,” Red said.

Before the parish council meeting began, Bellard said he filed the injunction not to stop the investigation into the firings, but because the parish council is not following the parish charter.

“We have to keep the integrity of this book,” Bellard said. “We have to keep the integrity of this office. It’s not about me fighting the council. We get along just fine. It’s all politics, and I’m good with that. Play the games, I’ll play the games with you. I have an obligation to this office. My obligation is to uphold the respect of this office.”

Bellard has already hired an attorney. Thursday night, the parish council also voted to hire an attorney to represent the council in court.

“It’s up to the courts now,” Red said. “It’s up to a judge to decide which side is right. Is the parish president right or is the council right?”

A court date has not yet been set.