SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Letters addressed to Caddo Parish Administrator Woodrow Wilson appear to show an effort on the part of some commissioners to opt out of the retirement system that is now the subject of a lawsuit.
Political analyst Elliot Stonecipher is suing over the retirement system known as CPERS (Caddo Parish Employment Retirement System), claiming it's illegal and unconstitutional for commissioners to take part in it.
Stonecipher says the ordinance creating the system, passed in 2000, violates state law prohibiting part-time public officials from participating in a public retirement system.
Some of the commissioners named in the lawsuit say they their names should be removed from the suit, claiming they opted out and they have documentation to prove it.
KSLA News 12 submitted a freedom of information request to get a copy of those letters from the Caddo Parish Administrator's office.
They were just released to us on Thursday and read in part, "I would like to immediately withdraw my participation in the Caddo Parish funded portion of the Caddo Parish Retirement System."
It's signed by six commissioners. But Stonecipher is not budging. He says us the letter, which was read into the minutes of the commission's February meeting, says one thing while their actions say another.
"Because in the same meeting they did that, they hired 2 attorneys at $225 an hour to litigate as necessary to keep the benefits. The letters are a wink and a nod. It's a political ruse," said Stonecipher.
He's suing to stop commissioners from enrolling in the CPERS, and to have them pay the taxpayer's money back.
While the letters do state their desire to pay the money back, Caddo Parish Administrator Woodrow Wilson says the money cannot be be returned until a court decision is made.