Lake Charles City Council meeting adjourned after firefighters try to voice concerns without agenda item

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 9:52 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - After protesting every day last week, Lake Charles firefighters are continuing their efforts to be heard by city officials.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, dozens attended to support the first responders.

“You mean to tell me that we have over 75 people here today, that took time out of their day, and you all elected officials can’t take the time to hear them,” liaison for the local firefighter union Jared Chandler said.

A premature adjournment to the Lake Charles City Council meeting - that’s what the dozens of firefighters and their supporters say happened at Wednesday’s regular meeting.

“You know as well as I do, everybody was out of here so quick, nobody had a second chance to get up and speak,” Chandler said.

Firefighters attended the last agenda meeting, voicing their concerns about pay and working conditions and attended this meeting with the same intentions.

According to city officials, at agenda meetings, the public can speak on anything at the end of the meeting, but for regular meetings, the council limits discussion to agenda items. In order for an item to make the following agenda, the council has to sponsor a specific item or action.

“For general, regular council meetings we don’t let outside public talk on things that are not on the agenda, and we have relayed that the agenda meeting is appropriate and that is Tuesday,” a council member said.

“I’m just sad the weren’t able to hear some of the wonderful stories and stuff about the department today, because I know a lot of people came out and wanted to share their personal experiences with everybody that has helped them,” supporter Michael Guzzino said.

City officials say they are continuing their talks with the firefighters Thursday, with another meeting planned.

The next agenda meeting is on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at City Hall.

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