Though former mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter is out of the picture in Port Allen after being recalled by voters on November 16, the city’s council members remain split
on the decision to appoint an interim mayor.
Stacy Ryan, West Baton Rouge Registrar of Voters, explained last month that upon Slaughter’s vacating the office of mayor, the council has 20 days to appoint an interim mayor, who will remain in office until the election of a new mayor in April 2014. The April vote will elect a mayor for the remainder of Slaughter’s four-year term.
According to Ryan, if the council is unable to come to a consensus in the appointment of an interim mayor, the state’s governor, Bobby Jindal, will have to step in and appoint an individual.
“As far as my position – I’d much rather prefer for the governor to make that appointment than us because I feel that it could be a volatile situation if we do it,” said council member Garry Hubble. “If we put the Pope in there, there’d be people that weren’t satisfied.”
Councilman R. J. Loupe said that he, too, lacks faith that the council will be able to come to an agreement.
“None of us, as far as I’m concerned, are on the same page,” Loupe said. “I just told (the other council members) flat out, whatever you all want to do is your business, but I’m going to leave it in the governor’s hands.”
Loupe said that if the council declines to appoint a person and the governor chooses on, none of the council members would be held responsible for the appointment.
Loupe, on Monday afternoon, said that he had not spoken to any of the council members over the Thanksgiving holiday, but said that the last time he spoke to them, names were discussed, but the council simply could not agree on one person.
“Some of the names they’ve got, I’m just not with, and visa-versa with everybody else. Same thing with me – some of the names I’ve got, they’re not with, and that’s fine,” he said.
Mayor Pro-Tempore, Ray Helen Lawrence, said that she is not sure what will happen when the time comes to appoint an interim mayor, saying that she hadn’t discussed the appointment with anyone in much detail.
“I don’t know which way it’s going to go. I just do what I have to do daily and let it run its course,” she said. “We are trying our best to work together and make things work smoothly.”
Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere said that he was holding on to the hope that the council would be able to establish a united front and choose an interim mayor together.
“It’d be nice if we could come to an agreement by Wednesday. We can’t vote on it for Wednesday, but we can call a special meeting,” Riviere said. “I always hold out hope that we can come to an agreement.”
Hubble shared Riviere’s sentiment, but added that he feels that the governor should make the decision because he doesn’t believe the council will come to an agreement, based on how each council member has voted, historically.
“I’ve said to some people that the council needs to have a united front and all, but we’ll have to see if that transpires, because judging by the way the votes have gone down for the past year, unless something drastically changes and they have an awakening, I’m going to guess it’s not going to change,” Hubble said. “I wish it would.”
Riviere said that though he holds on to the hope that they can stand united, he doesn’t feel like the metter should be brought up in a meeting unless they do, in fact, have an agreement.
“If it comes to a stalemate, I don’t think it’d be really good to go into an open meeting and still be divided,” Riviere said. “So at that point I would rather not even bring it up and just the governor make the decision and just let the chips fall where they may.”
Councilman Brandon Brown could not be reached for comment.