Baker City Council OKs prosecutor’s appointment

The City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to concur with Mayor Harold Rideau’s appointment of Christopher R. Dassau as Baker City Court prosecutor.

A majority of the council refused to concur in Dassau’s appointment at an Oct. 23 meeting, but Councilman Robert Young switched his vote on Rideau’s second try.

The city’s home-rule charter gives the mayor the authority to appoint a prosecutor and several other officials, but the appointments require council concurrence.

Young joined Joyce Burges and Pete Heine in supporting Rideau’s choice, while Charles Vincent and John Givens continued their opposition.

Dassau, 28, graduated from Southern University Law School in May and passed the Louisiana bar exam in July.

Vincent and Givens said last month that Dassau lacks the experience needed to prosecute misdemeanor cases in City Court.

Police Chief Mike Knaps urged the council to support Rideau’s appointment, saying he met Dassau and found him “very competent and willing and able to carry us forward.”

Other matters included:

UTILITY PENALTIES: The council voted 4-1, with Heine dissenting, to consider a proposed ordinance Vincent sponsored designed to lessen penalties against utility customers who do not pay their bills on time.

The measure, which is up for final adoption Nov. 27, cuts the late payment fee of $60 in half, extends the period of time after which late-payment penalties are imposed and eliminates the requirement for putting up additional deposits for delinquent accounts.

Vincent said the council is trying to portray Baker as a “citizen friendly city,” but Heine said the measure will help roughly 10 percent of the city’s 6,000 customers.

“It’s the same people every month,” said Heine, who said he advocates doing something to help people who pay their bills on time.