ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) –St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard is prepared to go to court against the parish council saying a resolution published by the council violated the parish charter.
In March, Bellard was accused of the wrongful termination of multiple government employees, accusations that Bellard says are false.
With these accusations, the parish council published a resolution allowing the council to hire independent investigators to determine if the employee terminations were justified.
“Were not disputing that a council can hire for an investigation,” Bellard said. “What the charter requires is if the council so choose to do this, that they put it in writing, and it has to be specific. What investigation? What employee? What is the issue that you want investigated?”
The St. Landry Parish council voted Thursday night to hire an attorney and take on the parish president in court.
Along with hiring investigators, Bellard says the council has also attempted to access the personnel files of employees where record of their information and reason for termination are kept.
“They want to see personnel files,” he said. “They want to see stuff that they aren’t supposed to see. Those files are protected under the Fourth Amendment. We want to make sure that the people of our parish know that if you do come work for parish government that your personal information is safe with us regardless of what two of the council members want to do.”
Bellard said issues similar to this occurred while former Parish President Bill Fontenot was in office, ending up in multiple court hearings Fontenot would ultimately win.
Bellard has already hired an attorney and says he’s willing to go before a judge if it means maintaining the integrity of his position and the parish charter.
“We have to keep the integrity of this book, we have to keep the integrity of this office,” he said. “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.”