A Terrebonne Parish recreation board that has been under fire for nearly a year -- and has been a lightning rod for complaints about how recreation is handled in the parish -- could be in for a big change.
Council member Darrin Guidry R-Houma is presenting an ordinance that would increase the membership of Recreation District 2-3 board members from the current five to a total of nine, with staggered terms.
The parish’s other recreation districts have either seven or five members.
“That is the Parish Council’s right to do,” said District 2-3 chairman Gary Beeson. “The council is the one that puts board members on recreation boards.”
Guidry said having nine members will give the board better oversight of itself. He stressed that the ordinance was not created as a response to criticism of the 2-3 board or its handling of the under-construction Bayou Country Sports Park.
“The ordinance is an action not a reaction. This is something that has been in the works since I was elected in order to better represent the entire area of District 2-3,” Guidry said. “Two heads are better than one and nine heads are better than five. We will have more even representation among all the council districts. District 2-3 is one of the largest.”
Half of Rec 2-3 is within Guidry’s District 6. Portions of Its boundaries are also within the districts of council members Gerald Michel, Christa Duplantis and Arlanda Williams.
The Council recently enacted an ordinance validating its oversight of recreation boards, buttressed by an opinion from Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Complaints had emerged over the past year over how the parish handles establishment of recreation sites through its board, and how some are managed. The Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce offered a plan that would include consolidation of recreation districts, though no direct action has been taken on those suggestions.
More recently questions have emerged about a private deer-hunting stand on Recreation District land that has since been moved. Parish President Gordon Dove directly spoke with Beeson about the matter after receiving a complaint.
Jeff Motichek of Houma, who resides within District 2-3, has questioned several district practices, and made extensive public records requests to aid his examination, said the proposal does not solve the problems he contends plague the district.
“It does nothing to address the elephant in the room, which is our antiquated, confusing, inefficient recreation system which leaves huge swaths of our citizens, underserved,” Motichek said. “They can change the font but it still spells status quo.”
If the committee lets the proposed ordinance go through then a public hearing would be set for finalization.
The committee meets Monday at 5:40 p.m. at the Terrebonne Parish Government Tower