Lafayette sheriff, LCG face legal conflict over $1.7 million request for jail salaries

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(Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network)

LAFAYETTE, La. (Daily Advertiser)- In its final meeting before it is set to vote on next year’s proposed budget, Lafayette’s city-parish council faced another push from Sheriff Mark Garber to pay for 35 positions at the jail.

Garber and Warden Paula Smith brought the request before the council on Aug. 13, prompting Councilman Jay Castille to propose an amendment that was the subject of contention at Thursday’s meeting.

Garber brought along lawyer T. Jay Seale to make that case that Garber’s office had legal grounds to require Lafayette Consolidated Government to pay for the 35 positions, most of which are for maintenance, food service or clinical service deputies and which add up to about $1.7 million in annual salaries with benefits.

Robideaux’s administration cut the sheriff’s $1.7 million request during the annual budget proposal process this spring along with millions of dollars in requests from other parts of the government.

The sheriff’s office made its case to have the city-parish take the money from the projected balance of the Courthouse Complex Fund, which is funded by two millages and has about $5 million in unspent funds for the upcoming year. Garber said his office is only asking the council to fund a small part of many of the services he says the parish is obligated to pay for.

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