It is curious, and a little sad, that the politics of who will serve in the leadership role for the Iberia Parish Council took 34 votes to iron out.
Possibly in an a freak moment of openness, a public apology appeared to be all that was needed to break the dam, but it leaves one to wonder about the significance of a Parish Council chairperson anyway?
The Iberia Parish Home Rule Charter requires that at the first meeting of each year, the Parish Council chooses a chairperson to lead meetings and be a de facto spokesperson for the ragtag group of local politicos. Since 2008, there has been only one year the council chairman was not Councilmen Bernard Broussard or Roger Duncan, who was last year’s chairman. This year, Councilwoman Aquicline Rener-Arnold entered the fray.
Several votes were exactly the same — 7-6 in favor of Duncan. Even when Rener-Arnold’s name was dropped in favor of Broussard, the vote remained 7-6. Duncan couldn’t get over the hump. Twenty votes took place with the 7-6 vote (isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?).
After 33 votes, Duncan admitted he had told Rener-Arnold he had decided against a run for chairman in 2014, but changed his mind and apologized. His public apology, or sheer exhaustion, apparently was enough for Rener-Arnold to acquiesce and change her vote in favor of Duncan.
The chairman presides over the meetings, according to the charter. It does not appear to a powerful post. It is not like the Legislature or Congress where House speaker or Senate president make committee assignments. The council serves as all committees. There are no appointments.
The only leadership role of the chairperson, as stated in the charter, is conducting the meeting and reading agenda items. So why does it take so many votes and so much time to select someone? Why couldn’t there be someone other than Duncan or Broussard?