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Council argues, nothing accomplished

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LIVINGSTON - The Livingston Parish Council voted against hearing from a lawyer who claimed to have an idea about how to deal with a $59 million issue related to storm cleanup.

Plans were supposed to be addressed Thursday night about steps going forward since arbitrators in Washington, D.C. sided with FEMA against paying storm debris bills.  The panel agreed the federal government should not have to cover $59 million in costs related to the 2008 storm because most of the work violated FEMA rules. 

The council was not interested in an executive session meeting about a new plan to recoup the money, which would have required privacy and only been a discussion among leaders and the legal adviser.

"I just think the people should know," Councilman Cindy Wale argued. "The people need to know what's going on. This is their money."

Prior to Thursday's meeting, Parish President Layton Ricks met with the lawyer, Hilary Cairney, to discuss a strategy for more litigation.

"We talked about several things," said Ricks. "There were no decisions to be made today, but I wanted to share that with the council members because they had expressed interest about not being able to go to the arbitration hearing."

Part of the council wished to hear the idea no matter what, others said it was necessary to be heard in public. After they denied a request for executive session, Cairney left.

Some members of the council said they have been unhappy with the process, adding they have felt shutout of the discussion.



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