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Livingston Parish Council votes to override Parish President's decision to fire attorney that represents them

1 month 1 week 5 days ago Thursday, August 10 2023 Aug 10, 2023 August 10, 2023 10:32 PM August 10, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON PARISH - Residents and council members are concerned over the Parish President's decision to veto a moratorium approved by the council last week. 

"The parish is at a crossroads, and it's time for real leadership," Resident and District 6 Candidate John Mangus said.

Along with the veto, Parish President Layton Ricks faced criticism for firing attorney Steve Irving, who the council hired to be an advisor for legal matters involving planning and zoning. The termination letter sent by Ricks says Irving was terminated for breaching part of his contract that bars him from speaking with individual council members, which is something that Irving says he was never aware of.

"The termination letter says I was fired for talking with a councilwoman about zoning, which is what I was hired to do," Irving said. "I am flagrantly guilty; in fact, I have talked to most of the council members about zoning at one point or another, and I didn't report any of those conversations to the Parish President."

Irving says he believes the conversation that led to his termination was with a lawyer who was representing Councilwoman Erin Sandefur.

"He was defending a federal court case, and he found one of my old cases, and we had an email conversation about the meaning of my old case, which wasn't even something on a Livingston Parish contract," Irving said. "It was one lawyer having a professional discussion with another."

On Thursday, Councilman Randy Delatte brought Irving to the podium to clear the air and figure out the reasoning behind Rick's decision.

"Mr. Irving, in your opinion, would you think Mr. Ricks' policy on developments is maybe a little different than what the majority of the council is trying to accomplish?", Delatte asked.

"Well, I don't think there's any question in that," Irving responded.

Livingston Parish residents in attendance clapped and cheered as the attorney stated his case. One person even offered to fund Irving's contract with his own money to make sure the council could still have his advice.

"If payment of the lawyer is an issue, and Mr. Ricks has control of the purse strings, I'd like to make a thousand dollars available to the council of my own money if you need it, because Mr. Ricks doesn't want to pay him, and I'm sure there are other members of the public that would jump in and help you with this expenditure," the member said.

The council made a motion to rehire Irving, but that was eventually changed to a motion that acknowledges that he was never fired in the first place. It was approved by the council with a vote of 6-2.

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