NEW IBERIA — The Iberia Parish Council has set a special meeting for Tuesday, Oct. 9, where they will ask parish government office employees if President Errol “Romo” Romero has been allowing unauthorized persons to work out of his office since January.
Council member Troy Comeaux said during Wednesday’s council meeting that he heard Shane Romero, a lawyer and the parish president’s son, and another unidentified attorney were in parish government offices directing operations and providing legal services even though the council has not approved such work, which may violate parish law.
If the questions are answered at the Oct. 9 meeting, the council will ask District Attorney Phil Haney’s Office to direct the council on what next steps need to be taken fix the problem, which may include legal action, Comeaux said. The council will decide whether or not to refer the matter to the district attorney’s office at its regular meeting on Oct. 10.
In response to questions Comeaux recently submitted concerning unauthorized work provided by an attorney to a parish president, Assistant Attorney General Ethel Solache Graham stated that there are various scenarios where the alleged work could either be legal or not.
The opinion stated that if the work is unauthorized pro-bono legal advice that is used to direct parish operations, then it is probably illegal.
If it is personal legal information provided directly to the parish president, then it is likely legal.
Parish legal adviser Dean Wattingy said that because the attorney general’s opinion does not address specific violations, then the council will have to find the information on its own.
Other items discussed during the meeting included:
JOB DESCRIPTION: The council unanimously voted to ask the person who created a job description for a public information officer position to appear at the Oct. 10 meeting. Council members Curtis Baudoin and Glen Romero were absent and Councilman Roger Duncan was in another room but present at the meeting during the vote.
The parish has no position called public information officer, but such a position description was found in parish government files since the parish president took office, Comeaux said.
Putting such a position in the files without parish authorization violates parish law, Comeaux said, and the person responsible needs to answer questions regarding what took place.
INVESTIGATIVE AUDIT: The council voted 10-2 in favor of sending the results of an investigative audit to District Attorney Phil Haney’s office. Council members Maggie Daniels and Lloyd Brown voted against the resolution.
The audit, submitted to the council last month, found that the parish president may have violated law by having Public Works Drainage Maintenance Superintendent Holly Leleaux-Thurbron conduct public relations and other non-public works duties out of the parish president’s offices instead of conducting her superintendent work at the parish public works office.
A drainage tax funds Leleaux-Thurbron’s position and the language of the proposition says the tax money can only be used for public works duties.