February 24, 2024

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council will consider removing Parish Attorney Andy Dotson from his post after his office came under scrutiny for statements made about a non-disclosure agreement that last week derailed the city-parish’s proposed stormwater fee. 

Councilman Cleve Dunn Jr. submitted an emergency item to be considered at Wednesday’s meeting that expresses the council’s intention to remove Dotson “due to the loss of confidence in his ability to continue as parish attorney.” If approved, the item would organize a Nov. 22 hearing about Dotson’s employment. 

A second emergency item from Dunn would allow the council to hold a question-and-answer session with Dotson about the non-disclosure agreement. The agenda also indicates the council may want to find out more about Deputy Parish Attorney Bob Abbott’s role in preparing the NDA and the overall stormwater fee debacle. 

The items will be heard by the council during their Wednesday evening meeting unless any member of the council objects to their status as an emergency. 

The Metro Council has the power to appoint the parish attorney, who runs the Parish Attorney’s Office and provides legal counsel to the Metro Council and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Office. 

Dunn declined to comment Tuesday afternoon, saying he will withhold comment until the council meeting.

Dunn’s motion comes after Broome accepted the resignation of Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kelvin Hill on Friday in the matter. Hill and Dotson both said an NDA concealed negotiations with the federal government, statements that came under scrutiny earlier in the week. 

Hill and Dotson said at a Sept. 14 meeting that a “gag order” prevented public discussion of how Baton Rouge should address its stormwater problems, despite Broome’s office pushing for a costly stormwater fee that was intended to fix those problems. Eventually, city-parish administrators said the federal government imposed an NDA on the city as part of the pressure it is applying on the city-parish it to improve how it handles stormwater, which often can spread pollutants.

Under outside pressure, the city-parish admitted last Tuesday that the Parish Attorney’s Office had prepared an NDA that was signed by city-parish consultants and staff members, but that the federal government was not involved.

Council members have said they feel misled by the Parish Attorney’s Office and Broome’s office and intend to further investigate the matter. 

Broome says the Parish Attorney’s Office is to blame for the debacle. 

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