Activist urges Port Allen to reject drive to recall mayor

A New Orleans pastor on Tuesday called the petition to recall Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter a hoax and urged residents to reject the drive by picketing local businesses until City Council members give the mayor the respect she deserves.

“The legislative branch is trying to run the executive branch in this town,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a civil rights activist with National Action Now, said Tuesday afternoon outside of Port Allen City Hall. “It’s a gross misconduct of justice. You have to respect the mayor and her authority. If not, we’ll come into town and start marching and demonstrating and picketing businesses in this area.”

Brown made his comments after Tuesday’s special meeting of the City Council, which followed by one day an announcement that Councilmen Garry Hubble and Hugh “Hootie” Riviere were signing the petition to recall Slaughter, citing two longtime city employees who abruptly quit their jobs on Friday.

Hubble and Riviere said five city employees had resigned within the past few weeks because Slaughter had created a hostile work environment.

Brown, who has led protests in East Feliciana Parish regarding a drunken driver’s May 30 head-on collision that killed seven occupants of one vehicle, said he was called to Port Allen by some of the mayor’s supporters.

“We’ve got this imbalance here in the area,” said Brown, who was surrounded by about two dozen Slaughter supporters. “We need the City Council to respect the mayor. We need members of the administration to respect the mayor. The whites in this city need to come to the conclusion this is not 1957. This is 2013, but we have the spirit of 1957 coming back.”

Brown made his comments after Hubble and Riviere, two of the three white members of the five-member council, had left City Hall after Tuesday’s meeting.

But Riviere said in a telephone interview Tuesday night that what is actually happening at City Hall right now is the exact opposite of what Brown is claiming.

“The executive branch is trying to run the legislative branch,” Riviere said. “She’s doing things without council approval. The Lawrason Act clearly states the council is in control of spending and budgetary matters and she’s hiring people without telling us and setting her own salary.”

Riviere added, “All I want is for us to follow protocol. That’s where she dropped the ball.”

Other action during the meeting, which mostly dealt with housekeeping issues involving the Fire Department, included:

The council agreed to hire two new firefighters.

Amending the Fire Department’s 2012-13 fiscal year budget to allocate $39,000 in surplus revenue to cover six unexpected expenditures Chief Rick Boudreaux presented to the council Tuesday night.

Boudreaux said the department needed to purchase equipment and cover training costs for the two new firefighters and insure a new fire truck the department recently purchased.

“This will give us enough to get through until we adopt a (2013-14) budget,” he said.