SORRENTO — The mayor has returned to work.
Wilson Longanecker Jr., who has been out on medical leave since February, said he gave town officials a letter from his doctor Monday allowing him to return to office.
“I got my release from my doctor,” Longanecker said.
One of the town’s two clerks, Fern Barnett, confirmed Longanecker dropped off the letter at Town Hall on Monday.
“Now I’m able to resume my duties as mayor,” Longanecker said.
Longanecker, who won a special election in April 2011 to become mayor, had surgery on his foot and ankle in February and has been out on medical leave.
Mayor Pro Tem Randy Anny, who lost a close mayoral election to Longanecker, was running the city on an interim basis.
While Longanecker was out, the town saw its share of controversy.
The Town Council voted to fired former police Officer Cory Prine earlier this month for violating Police Department policy when evidence emerged he used a Taser stun gun during a 2009 incident with a student at Louisiana Technical College’s Ascension campus after the student asked to be shocked.
The council also placed several other police employees on unpaid suspension and launched an investigation into the Police Department.
Tuesday’s agenda features three executive sessions to review personnel issues related to the department.
“I’m gonna have to assess all that before I really give any comment on it,” Longanecker said. “There’s a lot to assess.”
Longanecker said he tried to follow news about the town while he was out, especially Prine’s situation.
“I don’t see what their rationale was to fire or force a resignation for that outstanding officer,” Longanecker said. “He was a very, very good officer — very courteous, very professional. If he made a mistake, he made a mistake. I don’t think making a mistake is going to cost someone their livelihood.”
When asked if he would attempt to bring Prine back to the town, Longanecker said, “I don’t think he really wants to come back after all he’s been through.”
Despite his absence and his former political rival running the town while he was out, Longanecker said he did not foresee any issues ahead between him and Anny.
Both men are expected to attend Tuesday’s council meeting.
“I’m going to do my duties as mayor and do them to the best of my ability,” Longanecker said.
Editor’s note: This story was modified on Wednesday, Aug. 22, to correct the spelling of the name of Fern Barnett, one of the town’s clerks.