Port Allen operating budget introduced 3 months late

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - The racial divide splintering Port Allen was never more obvious than at Port Allen's city council meeting Wednesday night.

The past-due budget was finally proposed, but it was hardly the headliner.

A packed room with standing room only, a hefty police presence and explosive statements are all things that are becoming the norm at the Port Allen council meetings.

Wednesday, it started with three council members defending themselves against Mayor Deedy Slaughter's allegations that they started the recall petition against her.

"I feel this movement is the best for the city, therefore I'm the first on the field and last to leave but in no way shape or form did I organize it," said council member Gary Hubble.

"I had nothing to do with Mayor Deedy Slaughter's recall...zero," said council member-at-large R.J. Loupe.

"After five employees and 45 years of experience and knowledge walked out of City Hall, I felt like I had to sign it," said council member Hugh "Hootie" Riviere.

Recall organizer Eva Crochet pointed out to the mayor that the petition started at her home and the three council members were not a part of it.  When she asked for the mayor's response to that, Mayor Slaughter said, "For the record, I'm not a criminal.  I'm a citizen.  I'm a person just like everyone else in this room, and I've been elected by the people."

Another item was trying to replace former City Attorney Victor Woods, who resigned more than two months ago.  Riviere said Woods gave the mayor notice in February that he was leaving, but Mayor Slaughter said she has her reasons for not having named a replacement yet.

"I've been put under allegations after allegations trying to fight all these other things that are coming upon me, so I have to put things to a side," said Mayor Slaughter.

So instead, Riviere took matters into his own hands and recommended J. Arthur Smith as city attorney.  The council voted 3-2 passing that recommendation, but the mayor said she's already interviewing three other attorneys for the position and will present her choice to the council.  She added she will now also consider Smith for the position.

At last, an item that did not create fireworks and something Port Allen is three months behind on, was finally presented: the city's 2013-2014 operating budget.

The council is expected to discuss and vote on the budget October 9th.

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