Hearing delayed in case against Port Allen mayor

“It was hopeful all parties involved  would do what was in the best interests  of the city of Port Allen.” District Judge Alvin Batiste

A state district judge on Tuesday pushed back a status hearing for a permanent injunction against Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter sought by city Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain.

District Judge Alvin Batiste asked attorneys representing McCain to file a written judgment with the court that would clearly define the future working relationship between the two city officials.

District Judge Alvin Batiste reset the hearing for May 29 after meeting behind closed doors with attorneys for both sides.

“He wants us to specifically state what the mayor can do and what she cannot do,” Cy D’Aquila, one of McCain’s attorneys, said after the court session.

“It was hopeful all parties involved would do what was in the best interests of the city of Port Allen,” Batiste said from the bench. “And that can be done with everyone realizing what their legal obligations are as elected officials. Hopefully, this will help us reach a resolution when we come back.”

D’Aquila said the judge specifically asked for a definition of the relationship between Slaughter and McCain, who is the city’s chief financial officer, municipal clerk and tax collector, “and how the mayor can manage and micromanage that position.”

Batiste ruled Feb. 20 that the mayor lacked authority to dismiss McCain without City Council approval because McCain is a city government department head. He ordered McCain reinstated.

Slaughter has said she fired McCain because of accounting deficiencies cited in an audit report of the city’s financial records for fiscal year 2011.

Batiste also was expected to hear arguments Tuesday for a petition of contempt McCain filed against Slaughter on April 4 that accused the mayor of ignoring the judge’s Feb. 20 decision reinstating her as CFO. However, the judge put off hearing the contempt petition Tuesday.

McCain asked the court to find Slaughter in contempt because she allegedly falsely accused McCain of malfeasance, excluded McCain from department head meetings and budget preparations and refused to give McCain the keys to the desk and filing cabinets in the CFO’s office.