Proposal setting Port Allen mayor’s pay moves forward

PORT ALLEN The City Council debated two proposed ordinances Wednesday night setting Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter’s annual pay, then agreed to consider one of them that also would grant department head status to five city government administrative positions.

The City Council voted 3-2 to set a public hearing and vote Sept. 11 on a proposed salary ordinance submitted by Councilman Garry Hubble.

Hubble’s ordinance, if adopted, would set Slaughter’s pay at $84,960 a year. The city’s mayor pro tem would earn $12,900 a year and the remaining council members would be paid $12,000 annually.

Hubble’s measure, which would go into effect on July 1 if adopted, would set the police chief’s annual pay at $76,334, the City Court judge for Ward 3’s annual pay at $28,508 and the Ward 3 constable’s salary at $12,000 per year.

“This is what’s being paid now,” Hubble said Wednesday night.

District Judge Alvin Batiste ruled last month the council must set the mayor’s salary by enacting an ordinance, and not by merely stating the amount of pay in annual budgets.

The mayor’s salary has been in contention since Slaughter took office Jan. 1 and directed the city administrative coordinator to pay her $84,960 a year even though the mayor’s pay had been reduced to $65,000 a year in the 2012-13 city budget.

Hubble’s measure gained the votes of Councilmen R.J. Loupe and Hugh “Hootie” Riviere while Councilmen Brandon Brown and Ray Helen Lawrence voted against it.

Brown said he wouldn’t support Hubble’s proposed ordinance Wednesday night because Hubble did not mention including department heads in the measure when the council first discussed his proposal last week.

Hubble has said he wants to bring clarity to the legal status of department heads since Slaughter attempted to fire the chief financial officer without council approval back in February.

The mayor vetoed Hubble’s previous attempt to put a department head ordinance on the books.

In other action Wednesday night, the council voted 2-3 against a proposed ordinance submitted by Slaughter that also would set salaries of city elected officials. Hubble, Loupe and Riviere all voted against setting a hearing and vote on Slaughter’s measure. Riviere said he voted against it because of the proposal’s effective date of Jan. 1

The mayor’s failed proposal set her own salary at $84,960 a year and the pay of city councilmen at $12,000 annually.

But Slaughter’s proposal fixed the salary for the mayor pro-tem, currently Lawrence, at $13,200 a year, the chief of police at $76,335 annually and the city clerk/tax collector at $3,600 per year.

Slaughter told reporters after the meeting she submitted her version of a salary proposal to the council because she felt the council’s three-member majority was trying to resurrect an item she had already vetoed.

Slaughter said she would “most likely” try again to introduce her salary proposal to the council. When asked if she would veto Hubble’s measure if the council enacted it next month, she replied, “I can’t say right now.”