Councilman must quit job or give up seat

Marcus Lambert can’t be employed by landfill and remain on council

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has ruled that District VI Councilman Marcus Lambert cannot be employed by the Transload America landfill in Killona and serve on the St. Charles Parish Council.

He must now choose between his job with the landfill company and his council seat.

Doug Wilson, site manager for TLA, says that the company’s attorney is now involved with the case and plans to take on the board’s ruling.
“I can’t comment on anything other than to say we are aware of the ruling and our attorney is looking into it,” Wilson said.

According to the ruling, which was made on Oct. 27, “the (ethics) code prohibits a public servant from receiving a thing of economic value for services rendered to or for a person who has or is seeking a contractual, business or other financial relationship with the public servant’s agency.”

The ruling further states that “the agreement between St. Charles Parish and the Transload America landfill is a business relationship between the parish and Transload America. As long as there is a contractual, business or other financial relationship between the parish and Transload America, Lambert’s employment with Transload America is prohibited, which means he can’t work for the company while he serves on the St. Charles Parish Council.

Lambert, who was hired by Transload America as their sales director in May, did not seek a formal written opinion from the Louisiana Board of Ethics before he accepted the job.

The company planned to go before the council with a request for an expansion of the landfill site.

With the expansion, Transload would be able to accept more construction and demolition debris on 70 additional acres near the facility.

St. Charles Parish Attorney Leon C. Vial had  previously advised the Parish Council to seek an opinion from the ethics board.

“I know that Marcus should have recused himself from voting (for the expansion) because he’s employed by the company, which is a conflict of interest, and he also shouldn’t be speaking at all about the landfill expansion because he works for them,” Vial said.

Lambert had previously stated he sought the opinion of someone over the phone before he took the job with TLA.

Kathleen Allen, an attorney for the state’s ethics board, says that informal opinions over the phone do not reflect the decision of the board and don’t really count.

 

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