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LUS Fiber splits off from LUS utilities

Posted: 11:01 PM, Jan 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-09 00:01:12-05

LUS Fiber is now its own department within Lafayette Consolidated Government.

The city-parish council approved an ordinance, splitting the company from the Lafayette Utilities System and giving Fiber it’s own director.

The interim director of LUS Fiber, Teles Fermin, said all employees will continue in their roles as they were prior to the split.

Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said the split will allow for better management of the company.

“It was a full division of LUS utilities and operated solely under LUS as a division and now it’s going to operate as its own department,” he said.

LUS Fiber will still be owned by the city and by taxpayers.

While the council initially approved the split in September, Tuesday’s vote tied loose ends in the original ordinance.

“There’s sections of the ordinance, where it refers to the director of LUS and it doesn’t designate between if it is the utilities director or the communications fiber director. So tonight’s vote is simply to clean that language up as to which director we’re referring to,” said Robideaux.

He adds the split will allow the fiber director to make decisions that are best for the department.

“It was always a standalone division under the umbrella of LUS, but the LUS director, the person that made decisions related to water, waste water, electricity was also making decisions about this $50 million division that had grown to a point that I feel like it deserved its own director making its own decisions.”

One resident at the council meeting posed questions about fiber being managed by a private company.

“If they’re not under LUS, that means we can outsource to someone like Bernhard to be the management company,” said resident Andy Hebert.

The council and its lawyer reassured residents that any management deal would have to be approved by the council.

“If there’s any attempt to do a third party management contract, that would require approval of the council correct,” questioned councilman Bruce Conque to the city-parish council attorney.

“Sure, sure,” replied attorney Paul Escott.

The interim director of LUS Fiber has a salary of around $115,000.

Robideaux says that salary could change once a permanent director is hired.

Right now, LCG is putting together a list of qualifications for the job before launching a search.