Councils Strike Guillory’s Proposed Quarter Million In Pay Raises From Budget
More than a quarter of a million in proposed pay raises for some Lafayette Consolidated Government employees was removed from Mayor-President Josh Guillory's budget in Thursday night's council meetings.
The amended 2022-23 budget was passed 5-0 by the parish council and 4-1 by the city council. The lone city council vote came from council member Glenn Lazard.
Guillory’s proposed budget included big raises for department directors. Those directors serve in administrative positions at the discretion of the Mayor-President's office.
According to The Advertiser, Guillory said he hoped to find some common ground after an earlier meeting this week.
Guillory said following Tuesday's meeting he was hoping to avoid a line-item veto to overrule the councils and would work with them to potentially secure future raises.
"I think there's a compromise there," he said. "We can take a pause and regroup together as a team."
Directors are generally the highest-paid employees of LCG, The Advertiser also reported, and Guillory wanted $211,000 in increased annual pay for 11 department director jobs.
His request also included $48,000 in raises for four councils’ office employees, who are also not civil service protected.
A $10,190 raise for a senior communications specialist and a $22,480 bump for a purchasing manager add about $32,600 to the sum of large raises proposed for LCG employees next year. Neither position is civil service protected.
The council voiced concerns over the raises in previous budget meetings, particularly since proposed raises weren't discussed before they were put into the budget.
“Maybe some other council members got a call and had the discussion of what's going on," Councilman Kevin Naquin, chairman of the finance committee, said at a previous budget hearing. "But as someone that's been here for 11 years, I haven't gotten one phone call, one meeting as finance chair to say, ‘Heads up, here's $450,000 that we're proposing in salaries across the board.’”
The votes also come amid a battle between Guillory's office and Lafayette's city council, which voted earlier this week to look for and hire an auditor to look into projects initiated and authorized by Guillory's office. The Mayor-President has called that vote "political," though he also acknowledged that he recommended the council take such action if they wanted to know more about those projects.
The pay raises struck from the proposed budget can be voted back in at a later date, should the Mayor-President and the councils come to an agreement.
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