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Brandon Williams resigns from city board after fight to hold two government jobs

1 month 1 week 3 days ago Monday, April 15 2024 Apr 15, 2024 April 15, 2024 2:45 PM April 15, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — The head of the Baton Rouge Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board quit his post Monday to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling that he cannot hold two government positions at the same time. He is also a member of the Louisiana Housing Commission.

At a special meeting of the civil service board Monday, Brandon Williams stepped down as its leader and as a member, effective Tuesday.

In a statement before the committee, Williams said he felt he was under attack for trying to serve the public. He says the attack came from various entities including political groups and private organizations, saying they have been investigating, intimidating, and threatening him.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council met later Monday afternoon and named non-profit employee and National Guard veteran Bill Johannessen to replace Williams.

"It’ll be interesting," Johannessen said. "Serving the broader community is a real honor."

This month, the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state's First Circuit Court of Appeal ruling in January that Williams could not be on both the civil service board and the Louisiana Housing Commission's board. Under Louisiana law, a person cannot hold those two government positions at the same time.

Williams argued the Louisiana Housing Commission, despite its name, was not a state agency. 

The matter has been debated since 2022 and Williams asked the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge to settle the case. He won initially, but the First Circuit reversed the decision in January.

Williams had also run afoul of the city police union. Its members said the civil service leader sided too often with then-Police Chief Murphy Paul. They also said that since Williams had been arrested previously on contractor fraud, he was not suited for a spot on the board. Williams, a licensed contractor, has pleaded not guilty.

Johannessen will serve until the end of William's term, which ends July 23.

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