Gonzales resident petitions to recall councilman

James Marchand, recall chairman
James Marchand, recall chairman

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - The job of a newly elected councilman in the City of Gonzales is on the line. A resident is circulating a petition to recall Gary Lacombe.

James Marchand describes himself as a regular citizen who loves everything about the Jambalaya Capital.

"I'm a native of Gonzales. I was born and raised here," Marchand said.

But a recent vote by the city council that threatened the arrival of Fortune 500 Company, Emerson Process Management, really hit a nerve. Three councilmen, Gary Lacombe, Terrance Irvin and Tim Vessel voted against a zoning variance that would have allowed Emerson to build. Now Marchand wants Lacombe gone.

"For him to choose to represent the constituents of Gonzales in that manner to me it was enough for me to take a charge and try to do something about it," Marchand said.

Marchand filed a motion on April 11, 2013 with the Secretary of State's Office to petition Gonzales voters for signatures to have Lacombe removed from office. Marchand said Irvin and Vessel could be next.

"I just don't think it was a good idea to try to go after all three of them at one time. Everybody's got their day," Marchand said.

The city council was able to salvage its deal with Emerson by later voting on a new zoning resolution that will allow the manufacturing giant to build in the city near Interstate 10.

Marchand said he still plans to move forward with his petition.

"It's unfortunate this is happening. I don't recall this ever happening in the city of Gonzales. It's part of the political process. It's something that we have to abide by either way," Mayor Barney Arceneaux said.

Marchand has six months to get 2,200 signatures. He doesn't have one yet but said he plans to start getting supporters to fill in the blanks sometime this week.

Councilman Lacombe did not return calls for comment.

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