A 19th Judicial District Court has cleared the way for the Metro Council to potentially fire the executive director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control district, entomologist Todd Walker.
After a nearly 90-minute hearing, Judge William Morvant ruled against Walker and the MARC’s appointed board of commissioners, which had sued to block the upcoming termination hearing.
Walker, who has headed the parish agency since 2012, is under fire for escalating costs at the MARCs new $11.2 million headquarters building at the Baton Rouge Airport
An attorney for Walker and the board, Jason Melancon, argued that the state law calling for creation of the MARC and the parish ordinance that established the district contradict one another, declaring the issue a constitutional question.
But Morvant agreed with Parish Attorney’s Greg Rome and Tedrick Knightshead that the authority to hire and fire the executive director is squarely within the purview of the Metro Council.
“He was hired by the Metro Council and I don’t think there has been anything showing the decision of the Meteo Council to consider termination is going to violate state law,” Morvant said as he issued his ruling.
(Update: Following the initial publication of this article, the Metro Council announced it will hold a special meeting April 3 at 4 p.m. to conduct a hearing considering the removal of Walker from his post.)