Eighteenth Judicial Court Judge Alvin Batiste told attorneys for Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter and city CFO Audrey McCain that the mayor, council and employees would have to come to some sort of compromise in order to move the city forward.
“Compromises are going to have to be made in order to move forward,” Batiste said during a status conference Wednesday, August 28, between McCain and Slaughter’s attorneys in reference to the ongoing court battle between the two after Slaughter attempted to fire McCain in February (the court ruled that McCain could not be fired without consent from the city council as she is a department head within the city). “If anything is going to be done, there has to be compromise.”
Batiste also said during the conference that he felt as though the court was being asked to manage the city’s affairs.
“You’re asking the court to become the manager for the city of Port Allen,” he said, adding that he is not meant to be the city’s manager.
Ron Johnson, Slaughter’s attorney, agreed with the judge, saying “(Batiste is) not charged with that responsibility, our elected officials are charged with that responsibility.”
He said that he and the mayor have made efforts to sit with council members to resolve any conflict.
“The council has refused through their attorney to sit down with us to discuss a resolution to these matters. The council doesn’t want a resolution, the council wants to continue this line of attack against the mayor,” he said.
Council member Hugh “Hootie” Riviere, however, said that he feels like the council is being “painted as the bad guys,” while the mayor refuses to follow protocol on certain matters.
“When the mayor’s ready to step up to the plate and follow the ordinance book to the letter of the law, then we can work together. But until then, it’s not going to happen,” he said.
Cy D’Aquila, attorney for McCain, said that he thought the judge gave a lot of good incite on the judicial process and the role of the city of Port Allen.
“When we initially filed this suit, we were hoping that everything would somewhat resolve itself through the political process of the city of Port Allen,” D’Aquila said. “I think that’s what the judge more or less reiterated.”
Seth Dornier, also McCain’s attorney, said that the judge’s comments and rulings thus far in the trial have been positive to their case, adding that the Batiste seems to be ok with moving forward with the trial.
“The judge has made it known that the political process is truly the way to settle this – not in the courtroom. But we will be in the courtroom on the 19th.”