The new members of the Louisiana Board of Ethics seemingly ran afoul of the state’s public meetings law at their first meeting last week.
First up on the board agenda was the election of a chairman.
Two names were put in nomination — Frank Simoneaux and Scott Frazier, both Baton Rouge lawyers.
Board member Lafayette lawyer Blake Monrose immediately asked about the possibility of going into executive session so members could chat with the nominees before a vote.
“We are all new on this board,” Monrose said.
State law allows executive sessions in limited circumstances, such as discussion of litigation and the character and competence of individuals, and in the case of the Ethics Board, complaints and investigations.
Simoneaux, a former state legislator, suggested the board recess and talk individually, then return and vote.
The board recessed and gathered in a separate room outside of public view.
When a reporter and House staffer entered the room, board members were standing around in a circle discussing the election situation in private.
The board emerged a short time later and elected Simoneaux chairman and Frazier vice chairman.