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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Lorraine and library board at odds

Lorraine and library board at odds


A suggestion by Lafourche Parish Councilman Daniel Lorraine that the Gheens Library be named in honor of the late Lindel Toups has caused a rift between the library board and the 9th District Councilman.

Lorraine is also a member of the 7-person library board as the parish’s liaison.

In February, at a library board meeting, Lorraine introduced the possibility of naming the Gheens branch in honor of Toups who was the parish councilman in that district until 2015.

The board agreed only to look further into the issue and put it on a future agenda.

But when Lorraine learned that the library board planned to wait until its July meeting, he decided to take his own action.

Lorraine proposed an ordinance on March 14 to name the library for Toups, jumping ahead of the library board’s public discussion on the matter.

The board then moved up its discussion to a March 9 special meeting, informing the council of its vote, which was unanimously against the idea of a Gheens library named in Toups’ honor.

Mr. Paul Chiquet, Galliano Library Branch Administrator, voiced the board’s sentiment in the meeting’s minutes, saying that while Toups’ contribution to his community was undeniable, he did not believe in the value of the library.

Chiquet also acknowledged that Toups often expressed that he felt libraries were overfunded and that money would be better spent on drainage and other projects like the jail.

“Mr. Toups voted for a Gheens library, because it was the right thing for the Gheens community not because he was a library supporter,” said Chiquet.

Other members suggested naming alternative parish buildings such as the new jail (which Toups did push for), or that Toups was not a friend of the library—he didn’t even have a library card, or even that renaming would cost the library board money.

Lorraine countered that without Toups’ backing, there would be no library in Gheens, and moved an ordinance in early March to name the branch in Toups’ honor despite the library board’s objection.

But at the March 28 parish council meeting, after extensive discussion, Lorraine’s ordinance failed 3-5 with only Lorraine, Jerry Jones and James Bourgeois voting in favor. Mike Gros was absent.

Forward to April 10 when at the next council public meeting Chairman Cory Perrillioux offered a resolution to rescind Lorraine’s appointment to the library board because of phone calls from several library board members to himself and other council members.

Board President Lonnie Granier said members of his board did call to express their concern about “the board’s relationship with Mr. Lorraine amid the growing animosity over the (Toups) proposal. It is impossible to have a relationship with our current liaison that can grow and that can flourish.”

Granier said that the July date was chosen because the April and May board meetings are specifically set for budget talks.

“As the governing body of the Lafourche library system, we deserve to have a voice,” he said, so the board called the special meeting on March 9 after which they presented their wishes to the council.

Lorraine says the board had plenty of time to have a public meeting before July.

At the April 11 council meeting, Lorraine demanded two things: “just cause” for his removal and a resolution from the library board requesting his removal.

“If a resolution is what is required, I’ll go back to my board and get a resolution,” offered Granier.

But then Lorraine called a “question” on the resolution and a vote was taken.

The resolution to remove him failed 4-5 with Armand Autin, Bo Melvin, Cory Perrillioux, and Luci Sposito in favor.