Gubernatorial Changes to Red River Waterway Commission Deemed Unlawful by Attorney General
Landry Implores Rule of
Law, Fairness to NWLA
SHREVEPORT, LA - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry
today answered questions concerning the procedures for filling vacancies
on the Board of Commissioners of the Red River Waterway District - as well as
the validity of the Governor's recent appointments to the Board.
In response to requests for a legal opinion from Senator
Greg Tarver, Senator Barrow Peacock, and the Caddo Levee District - General
Landry issued Opinion 18-0134.
"When filling a vacancy in the parish membership of
the Commission, it is imperative that the appointing authorities follow the statutory
appointment scheme whereby the nominating entities submit nominations to the
Governor, and the Governor appoints from among the nominees submitted to
him," declared General Landry. "Any member appointed contrary to
statute holds the office unlawfully and is subject to challenge."
Despite unanimous nominations of Carolyn Prator by
the Caddo Levee District, the Red River Valley Association, and the
Caddo Parish Commission - the Governor appointed a
candidate to the Red River Waterway Commission from outside the local
"Nothing in statute authorizes the Governor to
ignore the nominations of the local entities and proceed in disregard of the
nominating requirement," continued General Landry. "Unless the
nominating entities present one or more nominees for appointment and the
Governor appoints a member to fill the vacancy from among those nominees - the
appointment cannot be regarded as a lawful appointment, and a candidate so
appointed cannot be said to lawfully hold the office."
General Landry largely avoided assertions made by many
throughout the State that the actions taken by Governor John Bel Edwards were
political retribution against Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator. Instead,
General Landry focused on legal issues and practical applications.
"While much has been said about the way Governor
Edwards handled the Red River Waterway Commission following the death of Mickey
Prestridge, I believe that this is really about the rule of law and
fairness," concluded General Landry. "The law must be followed -
even, and especially, by the Governor; and Northwest Louisiana must be treated