BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The hot-button topic of whether to incorporate a city of St. George will be in the lime-light Wednesday, as the Baton Rouge Metro Council will appoint commissioners to three St. George Fire Board seats.
Some people question whether it's just a power play to punish those in favor of forming the new city.
Three of the five St. George Fire Board seats are expected to be filled at the Metro Council meeting Wednesday. Councilman John Delgado said the current board failed in its duties as a parish leadership group by allowing a petition drive for the city of St. George to be held at one of its buildings.
"They are the managers of that property and they have allowed that property to be used by a nonprofit to incorporate signatures in support of the incorporation of St. George as a city," said Delgado.
Delgado added David Carnes, one of the current commissioners considered for reappointment, crossed the line when he voiced his support for the new city during a recent interview. According to Delgado, what Carnes did is different from a council member voicing his/her opinion.
"The difference is that we are elected officials and he is an appointed board member and so, for them to take a public political position is inappropriate, whereas we are, we are basically hired to take political positions," Delgado explained.
St. George Fire Chief Gerard Tarleton declined a request for a formal interview, but during a phone conversation, said his department wants to steer clear of perceived political agendas. A written statement was offered.
"Our board of commissioners has chosen to stay neutral on the issue of the incorporation of the city of St. George," the statement read. "However, what they do during their off time, as long as it does not violate any law, is none of our concern."
It is concern for Delgado, who said the entire five-person board would be revamped if he had his way.
"We have the opportunity to remove board members that I think have lapsed in their duties, so I think it's an opportunity for us to put in board members that are going to be responsive to the needs of that community," Delgado added.
The Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m.