Resolution to ask mayor to take leave fails

INDEPENDENCE, LA (WAFB) - A resolution by the Board of Alderman in Independence to ask the mayor to take a "leave of absence" failed Monday morning.

A special meeting was called to discuss the matter, which is related to Mayor Michael Ragusa's arrest, but there were not enough votes for the resolution to pass.

"I'm not asking him to resign; I'm just asking him to take a leave, said Larry Cardaronella, Independence town alderman. "It would be like him taking a vacation. He can get himself together and we can get our matters solved."

Ragusa remains in place, but the controversy is far from over. He did not attend the meeting.

Ragusa was arrested and charged with battery of a police officer, resisting arrest and felony public intimidation.

A spokesman for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office said the mayor was later released on his own recognizance.

"The message we are sending is that's its okay to get out there and make bad choices. When an individual makes bad choices there are consequences," Alderman Calvin Batiste said.

"We have a town to run and the Mayor with his legal problems and other issues that are going on to come down probably-- we just don't think its right for him to govern right now."

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