Charter Commissioner postpones meetings

The chairwoman for Livingston Parish’s Charter Review Commission has postponed the group’s meetings until four of the five commissioners who resigned over the past month have been replaced.

Acting Chairwoman Bridgette Rushing said the commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been rescheduled for April 29 to give Parish Councilwoman Sonya Collins an opportunity to appoint a replacement for former Commissioner Rick Ramsey.

Ramsey was the first of five commissioners on the 10-member board to resign.

Collins said she had someone in mind for the appointment but needed time to confirm the person’s willingness to serve.

Each of the nine parish council members appoints someone to serve on the commission.

The parish president also appoints a member, but Parish President Layton Ricks said he does not plan to replace Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin, who also resigned.

Three of the five commissioners who resigned have been replaced.

Council Chairman Ricky Goff appointed Darla Stegall to replace Earl Price.

Councilman Ronnie Sharp appointed Nick Lattimore, who served on the original charter committee that drafted the parish’s current Home Rule Charter, to replace Rocky Brown Jr.

Councilwoman Joan Landry selected Wesley Sorenson to replace Todd Caruso.

The commission voted 5-4 on Feb. 17 against limiting the parish president’s authority to sign contracts and then voted 6-4 in favor of a similar measure on March 18.

Ramsey resigned that night, saying the commission’s course reversal undermined the group’s credibility by opening it up to criticism for backroom politicking to change votes.

All but Price echoed Ramsey’s complaint as their reason for quitting. Price resigned for unspecified personal reasons.

Rushing, whom the group elected as vice chairwoman, took over as chairwoman after Durbin’s departure.

The Parish Council created the commission in December to review and recommend changes for the parish’s charter.

Those recommendations will go to the council for approval and possible placement on a future election ballot with the final decision on each change left to the voters.