Jindal would set date for Slaughter vote
PORT ALLEN — The effort to oust Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter from office took another step forward Monday with the West Baton Rouge Parish registrar of voters submitting a certified petition containing 1,387 signatures asking Gov. Bobby Jindal to set a recall election.
Registrar Stacy Ryan said she rejected 124 names from the 256-paged recall petition submitted to her office on Sept. 3 but declined to say why the names were removed. However, Ryan called her office’s certification process “methodical” and “orderly.”
“I received 1,521 names on the original petition,” Ryan told reporters outside her office Monday as she was heading to the Governor’s Office. “I had six additions and 16 removals within the five-day deadline.”
The recall committee was required by state law to obtain at least 1,273 signatures, a minimum of one-third of the city’s qualified voters as of June 7, the date the committee filed its recall petition with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
“My portion is over,” Ryan said. “It now goes to the governor and he will review it and decide whether to call an election or not.”
State law gives the governor 15 working days to set a date for the election.
Sean Lansing, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office, said Monday the state’s attorney general will first need to validate the petition’s signatures before an election is called.
“If the AG determines the petition and signatures are valid, we will set an election date within the next 15 days,” Lansing said in an email.
If a majority of the city’s voters favor ousting the mayor, Slaughter can still run again for the mayor’s spot in a special election.
Slaughter, a first-term mayor, has been targeted for a recall effort less than a year after taking office. Within the first eight months, the mayor has been involved in a string of controversies, including:
• Her decision to hire her brother-in-law, Ralph Slaughter, as her non-salaried chief of staff. Ralph Slaughter is the former president of the Southern University System.
• Her attempt to fire city Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain in February.
• A court fight with three city councilmen who asserted in a lawsuit that Slaughter had exceeded her executive powers of “supervision and direction” in municipal affairs.
• Slaughter’s $2,500 trip at city taxpayers’ expense to Washington, D.C., to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration coupled with her decision to give herself a $20,000 annual raise shortly after her inauguration.
• Several city employees have resigned in recent weeks, claiming that the mayor has created a hostile work environment.
A group of Slaughter’s supporters responded to the recall effort against her by filing a recall petition against City Councilman At-Large R.J. Loupe with the Secretary of State’s Office the day after Slaughter’s recall petition was submitted to the parish registrar of voter’s office.
Loupe has said that he was not surprised by the move.
In June, Loupe and councilmen Garry Hubble and Hugh “Hootie” Riviere filed a lawsuit against Slaughter asserting the mayor has exceeded her executive powers in the handling of municipal affairs since taking office Jan. 1.
Slaughter has said she does not support the recall effort against Loupe.
The group filing a recall petition against Loupe has until March 3 to collect 1,285 signatures from qualified voters.