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Lafayette Businessman Joey Durel is in his first term as Lafayette City/Parish President, but is certainly no stranger to the Lafayette Community. After graduating from UL-Lafayette in 1975 with a degree in Business Administration, Durel opened his first Durel’s Pet Shop and has been meeting a payroll since he was one month out of college. His 27+ years of business experience, as well as his entrepreneurial spirit, have lead him into several business ventures, and at one time he managed up to 150 employees in eight retail stores.
In 1996, he was named the Sam Walton Small Businessman of the Year.
A graduate of Leadership Lafayette Class X and Leadership Louisiana, leadership is something Durel has been known for throughout his career. Never was that leadership more evident than in 2001, when his peers named him Chairman of the Board of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. That accolade came after spending one year as Vice Chairman for Finance and 2 years as Vice Chairman of Education.
Durel was appointed by the governor to the Small Business Task Force and is the past chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee of Lafayette, Past President of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Secretary of the Board of South Louisiana Community College – and is currently on the UL Athletic Advisory Committee, as well as the Rebuild Lafayette North Committee.
Durel’s administration has been busy making good on a campaign promise to “change the culture of government.” He has kept a promise of having an open and accessible government, meeting with anyone, anywhere. A story written in a local newspaper shortly after his first year in his office stated, “He might be the busiest man in Lafayette. City-Parish President Joey Durel’s schedule book is full to the brim with ribbon cuttings, speeches and policy meetings. Throw in a weekly radio call-in show and television show on Acadiana Open Channel – and a brand new “Have a Cup of Coffee with the Mayor” each month – and you’d think there’d be little time to govern. But Durel’s list of accomplishments in his first year in office are lengthy as well”
Those accomplishments include improving the efficiency of local government, streamlining jobs, practicing accountability, and reducing attorney billable hours, which has already yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings.
Since taking office, he has worked hard to build a regional coalition of leadership, convening meetings with area mayors and parish presidents to discuss issues facing the entire Acadiana area. After a year of informal meetings, at his direction, the Acadiana Regional Council of Governments was formed as a coalition to attract jobs and improve the quality of life for the entire region.
Durel appointed the first-ever Chief Information Officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government in order to use technology to increase the efficiency of local government, provide savings throughout all departments, and improve customer service. Lafayette Parish residents can now go online to make requests for services, as well as pay utility bills, further fulfilling Durel’s promise of making government more accessible and convenient.
Three months into office, his business background and belief in the free-enterprise system led to the City of Lafayette pursuing a Fiber to the Home Initiative. After a year and half of obstacles and debates, the voters of Lafayette, by a 62 to 38% margin, authorized the Lafayette Utilities System to move the project forward, putting Lafayette on the map in what has been called a “victory for America.”