"The business community feels that those problems can be solved without a formal separation of the two governments."
The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce's board of directors has voted to oppose one of two major local propositions on the Oct. 22 ballot: repeal of the Lafayette Home Rule Charter and a return to separate city and parish forms of government. The Lafayette Charter Commission, which met for nine months to review the charter for Lafayette Consolidated Government and to hear opposing views on how to rectify problems in it pertaining to city of Lafayette sovereignty, recommended in April to put repeal of the charter to a parishwide vote.
The chamber's position on repeal, broadly referred to as deconsolidation, runs counter to that of one of its ranking members, Vice President of Marketing & Governmental Relations Bruce Conque, a charter commissioner who has been offering presentations to local civic and government groups in support of repealing the charter. (Conque, however, has been making the pitch for deconsolidation as a private citizen and former commissioner and not on behalf of the chamber.) A fellow former charter commissioner, Don Bacque, has been making the same rounds in opposition to deconsolidation and has even formed a political action committee - True Pac - to raise money for a marketing campaign urging the parish to shoot down the proposition. The pair has also appeared together to press their respective cases.
The chamber, meanwhile, is calling for a reconstituted charter commission to be formed and to find ways to address the city's issues without returning to the style of dual government that existed in Lafayette Parish before 1996.
"The chamber's position is that there are certain deficiencies in the current charter that have the potential of weakening the city of Lafayette," says chamber President/CEO, Rob Guidry in a press release staking out the organization's position. "The business community feels that those problems can be solved without a formal separation of the two governments."