Defining Lafayette
  
Consolidated Government



Louisiana is divided into parishes. Lafayette Parish was created in its current boundaries in 1823 by the state legislature. Each parish elects a general-purpose parish government as required by the state constitution.


The location of the parish seat, or administrative center of the parish government, is the city of Lafayette. These offices of the units of government at the parish level are located within the city of Lafayette:

  • Consolidated City-Parish Government
  • Courthouse
  • the 15th Judicial Court
  • Clerk of Court
  • Corrections Center
  • School Board
  • Sheriff
  • Coroner
  • Registrar of Voters

The city of Lafayette is by far the largest city in the parish and in the entire Acadiana region, with 125,321 people in 2015.  The five smaller municipalities are Broussard (9,505 population), Carencro (8,175), Duson (1,761), Scott (9,562), and Youngsville (9,486).  The population living in the unincorporated areas, that is, outside any of these municipal areas, is 72,041.  The city of Lafayette is the home of many of the state and federal government’s regional offices, as well as the commercial and health industry hub for the parish. 

History of Lafayette Parish Government

  • Pre-1983 Police Jury--15 members
  • 1984 President-Council with a Home Rule Charter--7 members
  • New Charter voted on in 1994 that went into effect in 1996: Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government--9 members

Home Rule is the right of a parish or a municipality (incorporated area) to draw up and amend its own charter. Home rule does NOT give parishes or municipalities the right to pass ordinances regarding rules of incorporation, school boards, district attorney, sheriff, assessor, clerk of court, or coroner.


History of City of Lafayette Government

The 1884 referendum to change the name “Vermilionville” to “Lafayette” did not change Vermilionville’s earlier municipal charter granted by the  state legislature.

  • 1884 continuing Municipal Charter, Mayor/Council, 6-7 City Councilmen
  • 1914 Charter, 3 member Board of Trustees, with the Mayor as a Trustee
  • 1971 Home Rule Charter, Mayor-Council with 5 districts 
  • 1994 Home Rule Charter, Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, with  President-Council form

The Consolidation of the City of Lafayette and Lafayette Parish

Lafayette Parish joined with the City of Lafayette with voter approval of the 1992 City-Parish Consolidated Government Home Rule Charter. Before the vote for consolidation, the City of Lafayette was another separate government like the five smaller municipalities in Lafayette Parish: City of Broussard, City of Carencro, Town of Duson, City of Scott, City of Youngsville.  With the new charter, the five other municipalities continue as separate governments.  They did not want to be integrated into the parish government when the vote was taken.  They each continue to elect their own mayor and own council.

The City of Lafayette's status within Lafayette Consolidated Government as stated within the charter is a legal entity with "urban service districts" and "...shall exercise all powers granted by general state law and the state constitution for municipalities..." 

 With the vote for consolidation, the representatives of both the City of Lafayette and of the parish government are the Parish President and the City-Parish Council.  They are elected by the residents of the City of Lafayette, the other municipalities, and the unincorporated areas. 

 

The parish council was increased  from 7 seats to 9 by the Consolidated Government Charter of 1996.   New requirements were made of the demographers who drew up the district.  Two Council districts having a majority of voters of ethnic minorities were drawn as per the federal Justice Department's requirement.

In 1996 Lafayette Consolidated Government became responsible for governing the City of Lafayette, along with the rest of the parish. The Home Rule Charter does not apply to the other municipalities in Lafayette Parish except for functions and responsibilities of the general-purpose parish government.

The 1992 Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government Home Rule Charter that took effect in 1996 is still in effect. Some ordinances of the City-Parish Council have been added to create departments or to shift duties from one department to another and to adjust salaries from those originally in place in the charter.

The only amendment to the Charter occurred was approval by the parish voters to amend Section 2-02 of the City-Parish Charter dealing with the timely election of officials based on new Census data following reapportionment of City-Parish Council districts.  A charter commission appointed according to state law to consider amendments to the charter addressing governance for the City of Lafayette and the issue of deconsolidation resulted in a parish-wide choice of whether to replace the one charter consolidating the City of Lafayette and the parish of Lafayette with separate governments and charters for each.  The vote failed.

Comparing LCG with other two Louisiana consolidations

There are four city-parish consolidations in Louisiana with Lafayette's the most recent:

  • Orleans Parish/city of New Orleans, consolidated in 1805.
  • East Baton Rouge parish/city of Baton Rouge, consolidated in 1947.
  • Terrebonne parish/city of Houma, consolidated in 1986.
  • Lafayette Parish/city of Lafayette, consolidated in 1992, in effect 1994.

There are differences, however: 

  • The boundary of the city-parish government of Orleans is the same line as the City of New Orleans.
  • The city of Houma is the only municipality in Terrebonne Parish. 
  • East Baton Rouge Parish annexed approximately 30 square miles of unincorporated residential areas of the parish,just before it consolidated with the city and the parish, an act no longer permitted by the state of Louisiana, and has only two small municipalities outside the consolidated government.
  • Lafayette Parish, with its six municipalities, and only the city of Lafayette's government consolidated with the parish government, is far more complex in governance and need for intergovernmental cooperation.


Form of the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government

All voters—from all of the municipalities and all of the unincorporated areas—elect and are represented by the City-Parish President and the City-Parish Council. The Parish President is the executive and the Lafayette City-Parish Council is the law-making or legislative body of government.  

Characteristics of the City-Parish Council:

  • 9 City-Parish Council districts, 1 member per district
  • district lines of the Council  same as the School Board
  • approval of voter districts required from U. S. Department of Justice to guarantee voter representation
  • Council elects its own President from among its members at the beginning of each year
  • 3 evening meetings per month
  • large number of Liaison Teams of Council members and staff of LCG for functioning of LCG  
  • Council Office and its staff are a part of LCG

 LCG’s Governance of the City of Lafayette:

The City-Parish President and the City-Parish Council represent not only the parish, but the City of Lafayette itself to the wider world. The President appoints the Police Chief and the Fire Chief for the City of Lafayette. The voters of the City of Lafayette elect the City Marshall and the judges of the City Court. The City-Parish Council passes ordinances for the City of Lafayette and is the flow-through agency for federal and state funding to the City of Lafayette.

The Lafayette Public Utilities Authority, the LPUA, was created in the 1992 Home Rule Charter for the Lafayette Utilities System. This unit of government consists of those City-Parish Council members whose districts include 60% or more of people residing within the City of Lafayette.  The City-Parish districts with 60% or more city residents currently are Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8.   For more about the LPUA, see its own section under Lafayette Consolidated Government on this web guide.

The Departments  of LCG

Under the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government’s Home Rule Charter, the City-Parish President may reorganize functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities of parish administration by ordinance, unless the Council disagrees. Several organizational changes have been made. The City-Parish President also appoints and can suspend or remove the Chief Administrative Officer of LCG and most of the department directors. The Director of the Civil Service Department is appointed by the Civil Service Board by authority of the City-Parish Charter.

Each department of LCG has several divisions . Each division has several sections to handle its many functions.   Currently the departments include


  • Civil Service
  • Community Development
  • Finance & Management
  • Fire
  • Information Services and Technology
  • Lafayette Utilities System*
  • Legal
  • Parks and Recreation*
  • Planning, Zoning, & Development
  • Police
  • Public Works*

*Discussed in their own sections under Lafayette Consolidated Government heading on this web guide.

Emergency Operations and Security, International Trade, Animal Control, Small Business Support Services, the Juvenile Detention Home, Human Resources, and the Workforce Investment Act staff  are handled through the  Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.


For the funding of Lafayette City-Parish Government, see Section 3: Funding Local Government.  For more about the City-Parish Council or the City-Parish President , see the sections, "Council," "President," and "Lafayette Public Utilities Authority" under Lafayette City-Parish Government in this web guide.

Sources: 

"Home-Rule Charter, Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, 1992.

Interviews in 2009:  Jay Castille, Dee Stanley.

Powerpoint presentations by Patt Ottinger, City-Parish Attorney, Charter Committee meeting, January 25, 2010; Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Webinar, March 2, 2010.

Websites, "Our City-Parish Government," http://brgov.com/aboutus.htm, 2010;






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