The former commander of the mayor-president of Lafayette’s army, hired in January, is absent after only four months | New
A former military commander for Mayor-President Josh Guillory who was hired in January no longer works in the Lafayette Consolidated Government, officials confirmed Tuesday.
Mike Hicks was hired in January as executive chief of staff to oversee a slew of construction projects underway or being planned at the Lafayette Consolidated Government in part due to an influx of federal funding through the relief effort, the American Rescue Plan Act.
Guillory created the new position, which comes with a salary of $280,224 over two years. The money for the position came from the reserves of the parish council.
Because the position is a mayor-president appointment, not a public service job, Guillory was not required to conduct a formal search that requires advertising the position, said Tonya Trcalek, communications specialist and from the LCG media in January. For the same reason, Hicks could be fired by Guillory at will.
Guillory chose Hicks, who lives in Lafayette and was Guillory’s commanding officer when they both served in the military, Trcalek said.
Hicks is the latest in a long line of directors fired or expelled by Guillory, including five police chiefs or acting chiefs of police, two chief administrative officers and at least five directors appointed by former mayor-president Joel Robideaux.
At the beginning of his mandate, the mayor-president also split the public works department into three, public works, drainage and traffic, roads and bridges. Instead of one director, there are now three.
The new position is necessary in part because the hundreds of capital projects underway or about to start don’t all come under the public works department, communications manager Jamie Angelle said in a Nov. 19 interview. They cover parks, community development, planning and drainage, he said.
Guillory, Angelle said, “wants to get projects done as soon as possible. In the past, going from approval to cutting the ribbon on a project could take years. This is an effort to improve the ‘efficiency.
Guillory’s rush to get things done also caused legal problems for the administration, including a federal lawsuit over LCG’s secret removal of a spoil bank in St. Martin Parish. In early May, a Lafayette spoke out against LCG in the expropriation of 372 acres of land where it wants to dig four retention ponds to mitigate flooding. An appeals court ruling is pending in another case in which LCG cut down trees and began digging retention ponds on 16.5 acres of land belonging to the heirs of Lucile B. Randol before the owners do not receive expropriation documents.