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Contributing Writer

There may no longer be a mileage restriction for employees who work for the City of Opelousas.

The Board of Aldermen following a 5-1 vote at a Tuesday night meeting agreed to remove the current 12-mile residential restriction and allow city workers to apparently live wherever they want.

Marvin Richard, Milton Batiste III, Floyd Ford, Sherell Roberts and Chasity Davis voted to lift the current mileage restriction. Alderman Charles Cummings voted “no.”

City Attorney Travis Broussard noted that the Opelousas Municipal Civil Service Board had discussed the employee mileage issue recently.

The members of the Civil Service Board also decided Broussard said that they wanted to receive a decision from the Aldermen before proceeding with the matter further.

“If you currently live within 12 miles, you can work for the city. There have been requests for the Civil Service Board to remove that limitation. From what I understand, (the Civil Service Board) wanted a show of support from (the Aldermen) before they did that,” Broussard said prior to the vote.

Broussard did not say however whether the current mileage restriction is being followed by every worker now employed by the city.

Mayor Julius Alsandor said removing the current mileage restriction will allow the city to hire more qualified workers and in his opinion, increase the efficiency of the municipal employee pool.

Cummings however had reservations about making the decision.

“What if you have a policeman that for instance lives in New Iberia? That officer will be driving to work all the way into Opelousas and back in a vehicle that is paid for by the city,” Cummings said.

During a Wednesday morning interview with, Cummings said city police officers often take their patrol vehicles home and then drive them to work.

“Some of these officers don’t live in the parish. The patrol units they are given are driven all over the place. They have been seen dropping off kids at school, going to the supermarket and at health clubs outside Opelousas. “They use the vehicles for everything and go all over the place in them. That’s on (the city’s) dime,” said Cummings.

Cummings said he understands after discussing the matter previously with Police Chief Martin McLendon that city police officers need to have vehicles at their immediate disposal in order to respond to emergencies.

McLendon was not at the Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night when the mileage restriction issue was discussed.