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What will Brandon Williams do? Civil service chief cannot also be on state housing commission board

5 months 1 week 5 days ago Friday, January 12 2024 Jan 12, 2024 January 12, 2024 11:44 AM January 12, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — Brandon Williams can be a member of the local civil service board or a board member at the Louisiana Housing Commission.

He cannot be both.

Louisiana's 1st Circuit Court of Appeal on Thursday afternoon rejected Williams' belief that the housing panel was not a state agency, and turned back his attempt to hold positions at both the housing office and the Baton Rouge Police and Fire Civil Service Board. 

The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council had questioned in 2022 whether Williams could serve on both panels. In response, Williams said the Housing Commission, though "owned by the state, was neither a state agency or considered part of any government subdivision.

Williams, the head of the civil service board, asked a court to settle the question, and 19th Judicial District Judge Tiffany Foxworth-Roberts found in his favor last April. The city-parish and the head of the Baton Rouge police union appealed, and the First Circuit said the lower court judge got it wrong.

A member of one board cannot be a member of another board, or even hold a public office or public employment, except in very limited circumstances, the court said. Exceptions are limited to notaries public, military or naval offices, "or that of a municipal fire or police department which is expressly required" to serve on a civil service board.

Williams did not qualify under the exception, the court said.

The police union has long sought Williams' removal from the board. Its members say Williams sided too often with Chief Murphy Paul, who they said was unfair to officers.

They also said that Williams' history of his own arrests made him unsuitable to serve. Williams was arrested last year on contractor fraud, and has pleaded not guilty. He is a licensed contractor and has been disciplined for working with unlicensed contractors.

Williams has had his complaints, too, about the city-parish and a board colleague, even suing last year and saying they had violated his privacy rights while seeking "dirt" on him.

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