R. Reese Fuller

Not so fast: LCG snafu delays public notice

by R. Reese Fuller

On Thursday morning, Lafayette Consolidated Government sent out an e-mail to local officials and media stating that the agenda for the April 14 council meeting wasn't available on LCG's Web site because of technical problems. The agenda was attached to the e-mail.

Gail Smith, LCG's administrative services director, says the delay was the result of a glitch in a software upgrade to a document imaging system. The agenda was posted online by Thursday night. The snafu, however, comes at an inopportune time for City-Parish President Joey Durel. In last week's cover story, "Put On Notice," Durel argued that the antiquated state law that requires LCG to pay for public notices in daily newspapers should be changed. It's free if local government gets the word out itself via the Internet, where more people are now getting their news, he says. LCG posts the agendas on its Web site as a service to the community.

But if LCG's Web site were the only means for disseminating this information to the public, as Durel argues it should be, Tuesday's council meeting would have been canceled because the notice was not up for two business days (due to Good Friday) prior to the meeting, as is required by state law.

CORRECTION: I stand corrected. Joey Durel did not argue that LCG's Web site would be the only means for getting this information out, as he points out below. But my argument is that if no newspaper or organization is paid to publish the notices online -- doing it as a community service, as he does suggest -- it's likely no one would be at the switch all the time ensuring the notices were up in a timely manner. That scenario would leave LCG's Web site as the only -- or most --  "official" means for disseminating this information to the public. That means these types of technical snafus could halt the business of government. -- Leslie Turk