St. Tammany coroner challenges law giving financial control to parish

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 13 at 6:41 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. - The St. Tammany Parish coroner is challenging the constitutionality of a new law that went into effect earlier this week, stripping his control over office finances.

Dr. Peter Galvan filed the lawsuit in Baton Rouge hours after the parish requested a meeting to start the process of moving money and property.

Parish leaders are not happy with the delay.

"It's disappointing because I think the citizens would expect this to go forward quickly and as easily as possible," said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister.

The lawsuit says the new law is unconstitutional for several reasons. Galvan says his salary cannot be altered while in office and the law breaks a 2007 agreement between him and the parish.

The lawsuit says the bill infringes on the separation of powers and alters the purpose of the tax money approved by voters in 2004 by changing who the money goes to.

Lastly, the challenge says lawmakers failed to post local notice of the intent to file the bill as required.

Members of the group pushing for a recall election say those reasons are outrageous.

"I think if this doesn't motivate people in St. Tammany Parish and our political leaders to step forward and sign this recall petition, then listen, we deserve what we get, bottom line," said Rick Franzo with Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany.

The lawsuit also asks that the parish be held to the agreement with the coroner and be responsible for all court costs.

The judge assigned to the case has not set an initial hearing date yet.

 

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