LAFAYETTE--The Lafayette Parish Council has appointed Robert Judge to fill an unexpired term on the Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control.

Judge received three votes to win the seat. Council members Brian Tabor, John Guilbeau, and Josh Carlson voted for Judge. Councilman AB Rubin voted for André Breaux. Councilman Kevin Naquin voted for Christie Maloyed.

Judge is the founder, president, and CEO of R. L. Judge and Associates, an oilfield risk management firm. Judge also has nearly two decades of experience as a teacher, all in parochial schools.

According to council clerk Veronica Williams, 20 people called the council office to voice their opposition to Judge being nominated and appointed to the board. Carlson, who nominated Judge, lashed out at the media and others before the vote, accusing them of spreading "misinformation" about the candidates and about the library board's decision to reject the LEH grant to fund a voting rights program.

Carlson's comments led to loud groans and mumbles from the crowd. That led council chairman John Guilbeau to interrupt Carlson and silence the audience. Carlson then continued, saying only three candidates contacted him. He added that those were the only candidates he considered for the position.

Rubin then responded to Carlson.

"What I think the audience is talking about is that, at this particular time, this wasn't the right discussion," Rubin said. "You could have saved this for the open mic (portion of the meeting). "(The audience doesn't) get to discuss the issue at this particular time."

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Lafayette resident Jared Eubanks noted that Judge was one of many people who asked the council to cancel the library's Drag Queen Story Time event in 2018.

Jamal Taylor, a former library board member who asked the board to select a candidate who would put the library's fiduciary interests first, responded to Carlson during the public comments section. He said Carlson's statements were "racially inflammatory." Guilbeau stopped Taylor, saying personal attacks against council members are not allowed. Taylor responded by telling Guilbeau that his ability to censor criticism of a councilman is an example of his and the council's "white privilege."

Guilbeau later addressed citizens' concerns about what they feel are a lack of qualifications for some of the candidates, including Judge. Guilbeau said the requirements to be on the library board are left vague to allow a wide variety of people to apply for and serve on the board.

"While we would like to add qualifications, it's not written that way," Guilbeau said."

Alicia Roberts closed the meeting by questioning the motives of the parish council and the Guillory Administration, saying they've been overly involved and overly punitive towards the library and its administrators. She also questioned why the council and the library board aren't taking the advice of other libraries from across the country on how to operate. She also accused the council of not finding the "best and brightest" candidates to sit on the board

"The appointments of the last year smack of cronyism," Roberts said.