The council, meeting in regular session Wednesday, was presented with a resolution to renew its contract with Mosquito Control Contractors Inc. of New Iberia.
However, Councilman Glen Hidalgo of Bayou Vista questioned if the process should follow public bid law.
Legal counsel Vincent Borne explained that mosquito abatement is classified as a professional service as opposed to a public works contract, and is not subject to the bid laws.
MCCI owner Glenn Stokes told the council the former Judge Walter Fleming of the 16th Judicial District ruled in 1983 that mosquito abatement is a professional service and that ruling was adopted by the state.
“If it did require to be bid … we’d have been doing it from day 1,” Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange said.
Hidalgo then questioned why a request for quotes was not issued for the mosquito service as it has been in the past.
“We received a letter from MCCI … a new contract offering to keep the rates the same as they currently are,” LaGrange said. “MCCI has done a good job in the parish … for the last several years.” He added that before putting the resolution on the agenda for consideration, he consulted with the council chairman, Councilman Steve Bierhorst of Patterson.
After Hidalgo said he had called the state legislative office to ask about bid laws, at-large Councilman Albert Foulcard took him to task for breaking the “chain of command.”
Foulcard said Hidalgo did not honor “etiquette” by asking the administration, legal counsel and fellow councilmen first before going to the state.
“If I was to have a question like that I would ask Mr. LaGrange first then if I wasn’t satisfied with the answer, then I would go to the state,” he said. “It seems to me that you went to the state first.”
“Point taken,” Hidalgo said. “Sorry, Boo.”
LaGrange noted that Morgan City, Patterson and Franklin as well as Lafayette Parish routinely sign mosquito abatement contracts without going through the bid process.
“To insinuate that the administration is doing something wrong because we recommended a professional services contract … I just don’t think that’s right or fair to us,” LaGrange said. “But in the spirit of unity and cooperation, I’ve asked and discussed with the chairman that we do move forward and put out an RFQ.”
He said recommendations will be presented to the council in January.
In other business the council:
—Adopted an ordinance amendment correcting language on the designation of voting precincts at Patterson Civic Center.
—Introduced ordinances amending the current fiscal year budget; amending and setting the council clerk’s salary at $25.19 an hour; and a specific use permit for the location of a communication tower at the Port of West St. Mary.
—Passed a resolution on a cooperative endeavor and local services agreement on generators purchased with a grant by the St. Mary Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.