Judge seeks clear definition of Port Allen official’s job duties

The court battle between Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter and city Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain has been once again pushed back to another day.

The development came Wednesday as a state district judge asked McCain’s attorneys to file legal documents clearly defining her job duties for the court.

Attorneys for both McCain and Slaughter met in chambers with District Judge Alvin Batiste to review state statutes outlining McCain’s job functions as the city of Port Allen’s chief financial officer, municipal clerk and tax collector.

It was the second time Batiste delayed proceedings in the litigation. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing had been reset from April 30.

“Basically, it was an informal discussion with the judge, myself and the counsel for the mayor as far as reaching a stipulation as per the statutory duties of Mrs. McCain,” Cy D’Aquila, one of McCain’s attorneys, said after the court session. “It’s not a win or lose situation. It’s basically trying to find that happy medium between Mrs. McCain and the mayor.”

McCain has asked the court to grant a permanent injunction nullifying Slaughter’s February attempt to fire her.

Batiste on Feb. 20 blocked the mayor’s attempt to dismiss McCain and ordered her reinstated on the grounds that Slaughter lacked authority to dismiss McCain without City Council approval because McCain is a city government department head.

McCain asked the court on April 4 to hold Slaughter in contempt for allegedly interfering with her job following Batiste’s Feb. 20 ruling.

Slaughter’s latest move involves asking the judge to dismiss all of McCain’s claims against her, according to documents filed Tuesday in 18th Judicial District Court.

The mayor’s attorneys assert in a 20-page court filing that McCain’s case is a “blatant attempt to disturb the balance of municipal executive and legislative powers” established by state statute.

Slaughter did not attend Wednesday’s court proceedings and she did not respond to requests for comment.

Batiste is set to hear arguments on the mayor’s petition on July 31, according to court records.

However, the judge did not set hearing dates for McCain’s petitions on Wednesday, D’Aquila said.

“We hope to get the judgment filed within the next 10 days,” D’Aquila added. “Not sure how we’re going to proceed further from here — we just want to get this judgment in place and hopefully everything will (be) smoothed over.”