As Ascension’s Home Rule Charter Revision Committee approaches its (artificial and entirely arbitrary) deadline imposed by the Parish Council for reasons of Chairman Bill Dawson’s own, we continue to digest A Better Ascension’s Elephant.
NOTE: For comparison’s sake ABA’s proposal will appear in red text. Where corresponding language to ABA’s proposal exists in Ascension’s current Home Rule Charter exists, it will be included in italics, with commentary when deemed appropriate. Included below are Sections 3-04 through 3-08 of its proposed charter which ends Article III-Parish Manager.
Section 3-04: Prohibition of Political Activity.
The parish manager shall not directly or indirectly organize, participate in, contribute to, endorse, campaign for or against, any proposition, political action committee, elected official, candidate for public office. Nothing herein is intended to prohibit a parish manager from registering to vote, establishing a party affiliation or voting. Nothing herein is intended to prohibit a parish manager from acting in his capacity as the chief executive officer of the parish in regard to propositions proposed to the voters by the governing authority or other matters in the ordinary course of government. A violation of this Section shall be considered good and sufficient cause for termination.
- There is no corresponding charter provision. Likewise, the current Section 3-04: Presidential Veto has no counterpart under ABA’s proposal.
Section 3-05: Participation at Governing Authority Meetings.
Notwithstanding the prohibitions in Section 3-04, the parish manager shall attend all meetings of the governing authority except for good cause and shall have the right to take part in discussion but may not vote.
Section 3-05: Participation at Governing Authority Meetings.
The president shall attend all meetings of the governing authority except for good cause and shall have the right to take part in discussion but may not vote.
Section 3-06: Other Prohibitions.
A. The parish manager shall be a full-time official, shall devote his full efforts to the position of parish manager and shall hold no other elected public office.
B. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the parish manager from participating as a member or officer in a civic or professional organization or from service in a state appointive office, so long as such appointment does not present a violation of the Louisiana Dual Officeholding law.
Section 3-06: Prohibitions.
A. The president shall be a full-time official and shall hold no other elected public nor any compensated appointive parish government office or employment during the term of office for which elected and shall hold no compensated appointive parish government office or employment until one (1) year after expiration of the term for which elected. The president shall not engage in any activity unrelated to parish government business that would interfere with or distract from the performance of duties as president.
B. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the president from serving as an elected member of a political party committee, charter commission or constitutional convention.
Section 3-07: Vacancies
A. The office of parish manager shall become vacant upon death, resignation, termination, or forfeiture of office.
B. A vacancy in the office of parish manager shall be filled by appointment of a full-time or an interim parish manager in accordance with the provisions of this charter. In the event of an anticipated vacancy in the office of parish manager, an interim parish manager may be appointed prior to the occurrence of the vacancy, to become effective upon the occurrence of the vacancy.
C. Until the appointment of a full-time or interim parish manager, the parish employee so designated by the parish manager shall assume the powers of the parish manager. If there is no such person then the chairman of the governing authority shall assume the powers of the parish manager, but shall not be prohibited from continuance as a member of the governing authority.
- So, the parish manager who has died, resigned, been terminated, or forfeited his office gets to designate his successor until the the Council makes an appointment?
Section 3-07: Vacancies.
A. The office of president shall become vacant upon death, resignation, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, or forfeiture of office.
B. A vacancy in the office of president shall be filled by appointment of a person meeting the qualifications for the office by a majority vote of the governing authority. If one (1) year or less of the unexpired term remains when the vacancy occurs, the appointment shall be for the remainder of the term. If the vacancy occurs more than one (1) year prior to the expiration of the term, the appointment shall be until such time as the office is filled by the vote of the qualified electors voting in a special election called by the council for that purpose, which election shall be held according to the timetable and procedures established by state law generally for the filling of vacancies in elected local offices.
C. If the governing authority does not make an appointment as required by this section within thirty (30) days after the vacancy occurs, the appointment shall be made by the governor.
3-08: Parish Manager’s Temporary Absence
A. When the parish manager expects to be absent from the parish for more than seven consecutive days, the parish manager shall notify the chairman of the governing authority in writing of the expected duration of the absence. The powers and duties of the office shall be exercised by the parish manager’s designee.
B. If the temporary absence of the parish manager extends to more than sixty (60) consecutive days, the office shall become vacant and shall be filled in accordance with Section 3-07 Vacancies.
- Again, the parish manager gets to designate his (temporary) replacement.
- Two months AWOL before an unelected employee can be terminated for cause?
Section 3-08: President’s Temporary Absence.
A. When the president expects to be absent from the parish for more than seventy-two (72) consecutive hours, the president shall notify the chairman of the governing authority in writing of the expected duration of the absence. The powers and duties of the office shall be exercised by the chief administrative officer or in the absence of a chief administrative officer, the president’s designee.
B. If the temporary absence of the president extends to more than sixty (60) consecutive days, the office shall become vacant and shall be filled in accordance with Section 3-07 (Vacancies).
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