The St. Landry Parish Council met Wednesday in the Delta Grand Theater. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
Solid Waste Commission members voted a raise
St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Commission members will receive an extra $50 for every meeting they attend.
The 33% raise in the per diem was approved by eight St. Landry Parish Council members at a meeting Wednesday in Opelousas held in the Delta Grand Theater.
The commission members will receive $150 each for attending the meetings held twice a month.
At a Parish Council meeting on Sept. 2, Richard LeBouef, executive director the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Commission, said the last per diem increase was in 2005.
Council members Harold Taylor and Wayne Ardoin voted against the increase.
“I would like to remind my colleagues that we only appoint four of the nine members to that commission. I’ve taken upon myself to reach out to the four that we appoint and only three support this. It would seem to me that we ought to get the input from the 12 mayors and municipal association and what their thoughts as to increasing the per diem allowances, particularly at this time when we have unemployment high and as we have a pandemic and we are suffering,” Taylor said.
“I have a real problem facing folks and saying ‘look we are giving a raise to someone to go to a meeting.’ These are hard times,” he added.
Ardoin said taxpayers are “going to think we have the money and we are giving the raise. It needs to be really stipulated that this money comes from the Solid Waste Commission from the money the people are paying taxes to collect the garbage.”
Ardoin also asked, “These mayors are making five appointments and where are they?”
He added, “Did they give any letters saying that they are for this raise in per diem?”
Taylor and Ardoin proposed the Council wait to act until a response was obtained from mayors, but that was defeated.
Voting for the per diem increase were Council members Jimmie Edwards, Jerry Red, Easton Shelvin, Mildred Thierry, Gil Savoy, Alvin Stelly, Dexter Brown and Timmy Lejeune.
Council members Vivian Olivier and Nancy Carrie abstained. Olivier’s husband, Pete, serves on the Solid Waste Commission.
Taylor and Ardoin voted against the raise.
The Solid Waste Commission is funded by a 0.8% sales tax.
In 2019, the sales tax raised $9.4 million.
According to an audit of the Solid Waste Commission, commissioners were paid a total of $33,000 in per diem in 2019. They also were paid a total of $5,792 in travel costs.
Per diem costs by commissioner in 2019 were: Edward Briscoe, $5,200; Gardie McManus, $4,200; Jodie Powell, $3,500; Jerry Domengeaux, $3,500; Cyrus Auzenne, $3,600; Pete Olivier, $3,600; Eddie Godwin, $2,600; Kathy Moreau, $3,200; and Jack Ortego, $3,600.
Travel expenses in 2019 by commissioner were: Edward Briscoe, $363; Gardie McManus, $891; Jodie Powell, $947; Jerry Domengeaux, $560; Cyrus Auzenne, $404; Pete Olivier, $956; Eddie Godwin, $668; Kathy Moreau, $587; and Jack Ortego, $417.