Church Point council names magistrate, town counsel

Lucas Colligan to hold both positions; says no legal conflict issue

The Church Point Town Council unanimously approved the appointment of a new town attorney and magistrate at a recent special meetin.
Lucas Colligan will serve as the town’s attorney and magistrate. Colligan has served as the Town of Church Point prosecutor for more than a year, and he has served as magistrate for other municipalities.
Mayor Ryan “Spanky” Meche has served as the town’s magistrate for the last six months, a position previously held by Brad Andrus, who resigned as town attorney on June 2.
Colligan’s appointment as the town attorney and as the new town magistrate were each unanimously approved, and he took the time to speak to the council members about some of their concerns with him filling both roles, including any possible conflicts of interest, violations of Louisiana’s dual office holding rules and regulations.
“The attorney and magistrate are local, part-time, appointed offices and it is not prohibited by Louisiana’s dual office holding statutes and regulations,” he said.
“The city attorney role is simply an advisory role to the legislative and executive function of town government,” Colligan said. “I have no authority other than advice. I don’t adopt the law, (and) I don’t recommend the law. I provide advice as is requested by the council.”
He continued, “The hat I wear as magistrate is to interpret the law and apply it to how the prosecutor puts on the case and how the evidence is delivered to me. There’s no overlap of any branch of government there in a sense that a separate hat is being worn under either role. So it’s not as if I write a law and then go decide what that law says.”
Prior to the vote for the magistrate appointment, Colligan said he would be honored and happy to serve as magistrate.
“I am qualified, I have been in that court for the past year and half, (and) I think I’ve got some very good ideas as to how we can make that court run even more efficiently,” he said.
Council member Chris LeBas was absent for the vote but arrived later in the meeting.
Police Chief Dale Thibodeaux supported Colligan’s appointment as magistrate.
“I have known Lucas since I became chief and since he became prosecutor,” Thibodeaux said. “He does a very excellent job at prosecution. He brings out the details that’s needed from my officers to get their cases out.”
He continued, “Lucas, I think, will be a very good magistrate, and I think he would be a very fair magistrate.”
Following the votes, the council also unanimously approved the appointment of Jacob Hargett, of Lafayette, as interim town prosecutor. The final vote to appoint Hargett will be at the council’s regular July council meeting
The council also unanimously approved the introduction of an amendment to change the regular council meeting start time from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
A public hearing for the motion will be held at 6:20 p.m. July 6, prior to the July regular meeting, and the amendment will be voted on at that meeting.

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