NEW ROADS- The president of Pointe Coupee's Police Jury said Wednesday there's a "strong possibility" one of his colleagues will sue the parish in early 2017 over its plan to transition to a council style of government.
In November, voters approved dissolving the current police jury after the 2018 elections. Sitting jurors will step down a year short of their full term and that has one unnamed jury member ready to sue.
"We don't want to allow one year of a term to prevent Pointe Coupee from moving forward in unity," said Cornell Dukes president of the police jury.
Dukes said he's not taking a position either way on the potential lawsuit but he and his colleagues had requested a legal opinion on the matter. Tuesday, Baton Rouge lawyer Leo Hamilton provided the opinion, concluding it would be illegal to dissolve the police jury before the members finish their terms.
Countering that argument is the police jury's lawyer Dannie Garrett. He said there is plenty of legal precedent for transitioning governments before the end of the juror's terms.
"I have tremendous respect for Mr. Hamilton, but I respectfully disagree with his opinion," said Garrett.
He points to Natchitoches Parish which changed governing styles in 2011. Police jurors there still had three years left in their terms when the body was dissolved.
Dukes and Garrett both say if a juror decides to sue, they will have to pay for their legal services with their own money.