LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish district attorney is looking into whether the Parish Council violated the Open Meetings Laws when its Insurance Committee members met with a member of the parish administration without giving public notice.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux, in a letter to the council clerk dated Oct. 18, said he had received a complaint that the Insurance Committee “met and received information and in addition, discussed recommendations to the council” without posting notice of the meeting.
Perrilloux’s office is charged with enforcing Open Meeting Laws for all public bodies in the 21st Judicial District, which encompasses Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes.
Insurance Committee Chairman Chance Parent said Wednesday that he and the committee’s other two members, Ronnie Sharp and Delos Blackwell, met with parish Finance Director Jennifer Meyers to discuss the administration’s issues with the parish’s previous insurance agent and switching agents.
“It wasn’t a committee meeting. It was just to sit down with her,” Parent said.
Meyers requested the sit down because she didn’t want to discuss the administration’s problems with the prior agent in a public forum, Parent said.
Parent insisted no laws were violated because the three-member committee does not constitute a quorum of the full council and makes only recommendations, not decisions, for the parish.
Parent and Sharp later sponsored an item on the full council’s Oct. 10 agenda to “authorize letter to insurance agents for presentation of plans for hospitalization.”
That item was “about insurance but not anything from the meeting about (the prior agent),” council Clerk Lisa Frederick said in an Oct. 22 written response to Perrilloux.
Also in his letter, Perrilloux said he received a second complaint that council members said during a council meeting they had “decided” or “agreed” on something during a prior executive session.
“This ‘decision’ concerned the budget to hire an expert witness for possible litigation,” Perrilloux wrote to Frederick, the council clerk. “I would like for you to check with the council members and let me know of the details of any such discussions.”
Frederick responded that the council members and legal counsel present during that executive session told her there was no vote taken during the session.