The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office is currently in receipt of a petition to recall Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter, a petition which now has about 180 days to acquire over 1,200 signatures.
If successful, the recall petition would enact West Baton Rouge Parish’s first recall election in its history.
Port Allen residents Deloris Gaines Kibby and Millie Ann Jackson were named Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the petition during a meeting held Thursday, June 6.
John Michael Lockhart, one of the organizers of a group calling for Slaughter’s recall, said that a group met as early as Feb. 22, when he decided, “Port Allen can’t survive four years of (Slaughter being mayor).”
Lockhart, who is the owner of the Riverside Reader newspaper, said that on Friday morning, June 7, he formally filed the petition with the Secretary of State’s office.
Supporters of the mayor – the first black woman mayor of Port Allen – have often touted race as the reason for tensions within the city; however, Kibby, the second black woman hired by the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, attributed the tensions to childishness.
Kibby said during the Port Allen Committee meeting held June 5, “We are now adults, and when you become an adult you put childish ways behind you… Color is not a problem in this city of Port Allen… So what’s the problem? We’re adults and we really don’t want to take off our ‘children clothes.’”
Shortly after Slaughter took office in January, a closed Facebook group called “Recall Port Allen Mayor Slaughter” surfaced.
In April, the group had over 400 members. Currently, the group has over 500 members.
Parish Registrar of Voters Stacy Ryan said, during an April interview, that the city would need approximately 1,276 residents' signatures to recall the mayor. In a telephone interview on Tuesday, June 11, Lockhart quoted a similar number of signatures needed: 1,277.
Ryan said in April that July 17 would be the deadline for Governor Bobby Jindal to call a recall election.
Lockhart said since filing the petition, his office has not gone more than five minutes without someone walking in the door to sign the petition.
Prior to filing, he said he kept the subject of a recall from council members, department heads and city employees, but since the petition’s filing at least one council member has approached Lockhart. Lockhart said no Port Allen council members have actually signed the petition as of Tuesday afternoon.
He said there are also about 50 individuals with forms canvassing the community, but that no one will tally the total signatures until the end of the month, when they hope to have enough signatures.
“I don’t like how [the mayor] has torn the city apart,” Lockhart said. “It is definitely not a racial thing.”