Port Allen council rejects ordinance to reinstate mayor's higher salary
POSTED: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 5:04am
Port Allen, LA (NBC33) — Mayor Demetric "Deedy" Slaughter expects a pay raise, but she will not get it just yet.
The city council voted 3-2 Wednesday night not to introduce an ordinance that would have increased her salary from $65,000 to $84,960.
The mayor's salary was reduced before Slaughter took office, when it was written into the city's 2012-13 budget. Last week, a judge ruled that the method in which the council made that change was improper. The judge ordered the council to write a new ordinance restoring the mayor's salary to the higher figure.
An ordinance came before the council for introduction during its monthly meeting, but was rejected by a 3-2 vote.
"The way this was worded [Wednesday], the agenda item was to just amend the current budget," said councilman Hugh Riviere. "That's not what the judge ordered, so I didn't feel comfortable acting on that."
"And I have to agree," said fellow councilman R.J. Loupe. "The judge did state that we did it wrong and we need to do it right. So let's do it right."
Riviere, Loupe, and Garry Hubble voted against introducing the ordinance; Ray Helen Lawrence and Brandon Brown voted in favor.
"This has been dragging on," Lawrence stated, "and we've been fighting and fussing and stressing."
Loupe added that he wanted to see the ordinance come before a committee before it was discussed in front of the full council.
"Another month and we'll just bring it up [through] the proper procedures and move on," he stated.
The vote fell along familiar lines. Hubble, Loupe, and Riviere, who are white, have often voted together against the mayor, while Brown and Lawrence, both of whom are black, have often voted with her.
Before the vote was even taken, citizens accused the mayor, council, and each other of racism.
"You said the city was divided long before you took office," one man told Slaughter. "It has gotten much worse in the last six months.
"You said the three white council members made it clear they would not agree with everything that you do," he continued. "I hope not. Their job, including the two other members, is to serve the people that elected them and the City of Port Allen."
Others compared Slaughter favorably to her predecessors, Roger Bergeron and Derek Lewis.
"She's going by the book," one man said, speaking to the council. "Cause she ain't gonna end up like the last mayor we had (Lewis), behind bars.
"But now we got a new mayor who's going by the book, and can't nobody take it!"
"[Bergeron] did wrong, cause he brought somebody in that had a record," one woman said, turning towards the white members of the audience. "You didn't say a word! Y'all kept it among yourselves!"
Before the meeting began, some citizens put a sign in the grass across the street from City Hall which read, "Riviere won't stop sore loser."