Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux is in his last month as the parish’s chief executive, and on Wednesday he contemplated the challenges, lessons and regrets of his single term.
Robideaux said his toughest decision as mayor-president was opposing the changes to Lafayette’s Home Rule Charter that created two separate councils.
“Conceptually, it made all the sense in the world. I don’t think anybody felt like the city of Lafayette shouldn’t have its autonomy, the same as the other municipalities,” Robideaux said at a Wednesday discussion hosted by One Acadiana.
“Pretty much everyone bought into that, but it was done so quickly and there were so many pitfalls in the draft of it that ultimately went to the voters that, man, it is going to be difficult going forward.”
Robideaux wrote in a November 2018 letter published in The Daily Advertiser that the changes would reduce the city of Lafayette’s representation parishwide as two of five members on the new parish council would represent the city instead of five out of the nine members on the consolidated city-parish council.
He also wrote that the two councils would struggle to resolve budget impasses, an issue that Lafayette’s Charter Transition Committee has been tasked with determining a best practice for resolving without another amendment to the charter.
As for his biggest regret as mayor-president, Robideaux said he wishes he had been able to achieve more of his goals while in office, but acknowledged that one term is a short amount of time for an administration to successfully navigate the bureaucracy of local government.