Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter said she was “blindsided” by a state-contracted fire truck, a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe, for the Port Allen Fire Department and refused to sign a check
last week to finalize the truck’s delivery to Port Allen.
“This came across my desk, I had no explanation as to what it was, what it was about,” Slaughter said at the April 3 city council committee meeting. “If I would have not read the e-mail, I wouldn’t have known,” she said.
Slaughter said she received an email explaining the purchase the day the check appeared on her desk.
Port Allen Fire Chief Rick Boudreaux said that on Thursday, March 28 he brought the invoice from the Chevy dealership to the mayor, which was 22 cents less than the original purchase order. He said the mayor “asked me to get it straight.”
Monday, April 1, when the check finally appeared on the mayor’s desk, Boudreaux said that was the second time the mayor saw the amount.
According to Boudreaux, the truck was budgeted in June 2012 for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Councilman Hugh Riviere confirmed, “It was a budgeted item.”
“I had no clue. I was clueless,” Slaughter said.
According to information from both Slaughter and Boudreaux, November 28 the city of Port Allen prepared to purchase the truck. December 4, CAO Adrian Genre signed and issued a purchase order. Slaughter said that there was also a contract signed by Genre.
Boudreaux said the truck arrived to the Chevy dealership on March 14.
“I got a phone call on Thursday morning (March 28) that said that, ‘Hey, your truck’s here. You need to bring a check to pick it up,’” he said. “The truck had been on order since the first week of December.”
He said the dealer can’t hold it any longer and that, “He’s lost money on it already, by holding it for us.”
Councilman R.J. Loupe said, “If we don’t go through with this in the next week or two weeks, how will that affect our state contracts? Because all our vehicles come on state contracts.”
Councilman Garry Hubble said to the public in attendance, “How many of you do business out there? If somebody negates your contract and does not honor it, are you willing to enter into another contract with them?”
Loupe asked Slaughter what she is planning to do. Slaughter said, “I want to sit down with Rick and we’ll talk about it. And that’s all I asked him to do with me. Just don’t do things and hit me on the blind side.”
Slaughter said during the meeting that the money intended for the new truck will go to emergency repairs on engine 36.
Loupe asked Slaughter, “But you never sat down prior to your Jan. 1 taking office of going through the budget to see what’s important and what’s not?”
“No, I did not,” Slaughter said, adding that, “with Mayor Bergeron I had no transition.”
“I got that packet, I’m telling you, the day that I got the check,” Slaughter said. “Everything was lined up as it normally is. Accounts payable was done. It goes to Audrey. She signs it. Then I’m the last person that has to put their signature on that check.”
Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence said that it “Sounds to me like a broken line of communication.”
During the meeting, Slaughter also called time on discussion of the fire truck.
The fire truck was discussed during the Public Safety Committee portion of the committee meeting. Riviere, the Public Safety Commission Chair, attempted to ask a question of Boudreaux when Slaughter struck her gavel and said, “Time on this issue.”
Riviere, Public Safety Committee Chair, petitioned the council for five more minutes, but the mayor continued to call time, saying, “I know this is a committee meeting but I’m still the mayor.”
During a regular meeting of the city of Port Allen, city code states that, “The period of time for comment on a particular item shall not exceed 15 minutes.”