I believe this egregious and senseless situation can be summed up best by the words of the investigator Trooper Michael Washington in his interview with Jack Darden. “I mentioned O’Neil because he was the target.” “That’s how the complaint originated to the commission.”
Please listen to the audio clip below.
Definition of target:
noun – a person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack
During the 01/12/2017 regular council meeting the council passed resolution CHI-TC #4-17 by a 3 to 1 vote which reduces O’Neil Darden’s pay from $120,000 annually to a council members stipend of $30,000 annually until the end of his term.
Included below is the May, 04, 2016 letter that was sent by the tribal council to you the membership. The second to last sentence in the last paragraph on the first page states “While Chairman Darden is subject to this review and due to the very troubling nature of these allegations, the Tribal Council determined that Chairman Darden would take a leave of absence, while continuing to receive his full salary.”
Below is a page from documents that are sworn responses to Interrogatories that were posed to the Tribal Council members during the Petition for Injunction that was filed by O’Neil Darden on June 28, 2016. In the answer to question 15 the 3rd sentence states “He was actually told that he would be placed on leave with pay prior to the enactment of Resolution CHI-TC-12-16.”
The Chitimacha Tribal Comprehensive Codes of Justice is silent on this issue of reducing or increasing compensation for an elected official. Title IV Civil Procedure Chapter 6 Applicable Laws.
Sec. 601. Applicable laws
(a) In determining any case over which it has jurisdiction the Court shall give binding effect to:
(1) any applicable constitutional provision, treaty, law, or valid regulation of the United States;
(2) any applicable provision of the Tribal Constitution or law of the Tribe not in conflict with federal law;
(3) any applicable custom or usage of the Tribe not in conflict with any law of the Tribe or of the United States. Where doubt arises as to such custom and usage, the Court may request the testimony, as witnesses of the Court, of persons familiar with such custom and usage.
(b) Where appropriate, the Court may, in its discretion, be guided by statutes, common law, or rules of decision of the State in which the transaction or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action took place.
Click to access CCCJ%20Title%20IV%20-%20Civil%20Procedure%20with%20Amendments.pdf
Since Tribal Code is silent in this issue according to (3)(b) the may, in its discretion, be guided by statutes, common law, or rules of decision of the State in which the transaction or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action took place.
In this case the court could look to Louisiana law for guidance. Louisiana law states that in “Section 23 The compensation of an elected public official shall not be reduced during the term for which he is elected.”
ARTICLE X. PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES
PART III. OTHER PROVISIONS
§23. Compensation of Elected Public Officials; Reduction
“Section 23. The compensation of an elected public official shall not be reduced during the term for which he is elected.”
In 2009, a constitutional amendment was adopted to prohibit any salary increase enacted by law for statewide elected officials, members of the Public Service Commission, and members of the legislature, from being implemented until a subsequent term of office. (Const. Art. IV, §4;
Const. Art. III, §4(G); and Const. Art.