I-Team: What should Mayor Slaughter's pay be? - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: What should Mayor Slaughter's pay be?

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Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter
PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) -

A recall is already set for Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter, while the city could run out of money if the council doesn't vote on a budget soon. The mayor's salary is a part of that budget. So is Mayor Slaughter following the law when it comes to the amount she's getting paid?

July 2nd, 2013, West Baton Rouge Parish Judge Alvin Batiste listened to hours of testimony in the fight between Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter and three council members who have been battling the mayor over several issues.

The councilmen asked him to issue an order prohibiting the mayor from violating something called Ordinance 6. That is a law passed by the council in June of last year cutting the Port Allen mayor's salary from approximately $85,000 to $65,000 for the second half of the 2012- 2013 fiscal year. That fiscal year ended on June 30, 2013. A new budget was expected to be in place by the next day, but because of a number of disputes, that has not happened. All of this took place before Slaughter was elected in December of last year.

The judge ruled that Ordinance 6 must be followed saying the preliminary injunction "...is granted until such time that either the city's budget is properly amended to reflect the salary prior to the 2012/2013 fiscal year budget, or Mayor Slaughter obtains an order from the court requiring a budget amendment."

To try and understand the situation over the mayor's salary, the I-Team looked at Slaughter's paychecks from January, when she first came into office, to Sept. 27th.

"What was your pay on September 27th?" asked WAFB's Kiran Chawla.

"I can't quote it for sure what it was, but I can let you know what I received from day one is exactly what I'm receiving today," said Slaughter.

"What is that?" asked Chawla.

"I can't quote that number," said Slaughter.

"Do you know if it's $85,000 or $65,000?" asked Chawla.

"I would have to look at the pay stub to let you know that," said Slaughter.

"But when you look at your pay stub, you don't know roughly what the amount is?" asked Chawla.

"No, I don't," said Slaughter.

Our review shows that from day one, the mayor has been getting paid at the nearly $85,000 rate instead of the reduced figure of $65,000 as required by Ordinance 6.

Remember, Port Allen has not passed a new budget for the 2013-2014 year. Bottom line, the City of Port Allen could run out of money to pay its mayor as soon as early November. That's because the mayor is getting more than the council approved, and more than the judge agreed she should be collecting.

"After the judge's ruling, did he rule that until the city council passes an ordinance, you need to collect $65,000?" asked Chawla.

"I'm not, I can't quote you on that. I'm not sure. The piece that I do know and that I am aware of that he ruled that they were to amend the budget so I could get that $84,000," said Slaughter.

So in August, the council tried to do what Judge Batiste specified in his ruling.

"July 2nd, Judge Batiste couldn't have been more clear that we needed more or less to do a separate standalone ordinance that sets the mayor's salary," said council member Hugh "Hootie" Riviere.

The council passed an ordinance that set salaries for elected officials. The mayor's salary was bumped back up to $84,960.46, or what she's currently being paid. Mayor Slaughter vetoed that ordinance because it also included a provision specifically naming who is considered a department head, an issue the council and the mayor have also been battling over for months.

"Because of the department head part in that ordinance is why you vetoed your salary increase as well?" asked Chawla.

"Exactly, because there is a revised statute out there saying that you can only have one ordinance set inside of an ordinance," said Slaughter.

The drama in Port Allen is generating a lot of attention. For example, the Louisiana Inspector General's office is closely monitoring the situation. The I-Team spoke with Chief Investigator Greg Phares. Phares could not comment specifically on the matter, so we asked in general, how much weight does a judge's order carry?

"In general, with a court order, you have to comply with it or appeal it and the remedy for doing neither may be that a party will move to have you held in contempt," said Phares.

While the situation may be confusing for some, it is crystal clear to Mayor Slaughter.

"Do you feel you're doing right in office?" asked Chawla.

"Yes I do," said Slaughter.

"Are you abiding by all the judge's rulings?" asked Chawla.

"Yes, I am," said Slaughter.

Mayor Slaughter said she does plan to go to court and get an order on raising her salary.

Wednesday night, the council is expected to take up the mayor's veto on her salary. At least four votes are needed to override her veto.

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