Recall petition filed against mayor, council members

Published 5:56 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

Earlier this month, several Bogalusa citizens filed a petition with the state of Louisiana, requesting a recall election for Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette and Bogalusa City Council members Teddy Drummond and Doug Ritchie.

The petition lists Malcolm Moses as the chairman of the recall committee, and Keith Merrill as the vice chairman. The documents were filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office on Jan. 3 and are addressed to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

According to state law, at least a third of qualified electors in the city must sign the petition within 180 days of its filing. The petition must then be submitted to the parish Registrar of Voters, who would then have to validate the signatures.

If enough validated signatures were obtained, the governor would then issue a proclamation setting the date of the recall election.

An official in the Washington Parish Registrar of Voters office said that there were 6,752 eligible voters in Bogalusa in the fall 2016 election. The petition will likely need around 2,300 names to result in a recall election.

Moses said the petition was a necessary step to implement positive change in the community.

“The mayor is in office, but she doesn’t truly represent the people of the city who voted for her,” he said. “Even though she is a mouthpiece, it’s not her voice who is being echoed to the community.”

Moses said that Drummond and Ritchie were included in the recall petition because they are at-large members and do not answer to any particular district. Moses implied that they do what Perrette wants.

“The people of this community deserve an administration that’s for the good of everybody,” he said. “It’s not black, it’s not white, it’s the Bogalusa community. The recall is moving … the process is moving … the signatures are being obtained.”

Perrette said that she understands why some members of the community are frustrated with their government.

“I fully understand the frustration of a community that believes themselves to be under-represented,” she said. “I can only do what I was elected to do, and that’s to represent each and every citizen of Bogalusa to the best of my ability. We are a community that is both diverse and vibrant. When we began this journey two years ago, our goals were to bring the city back from financial ruin, and improve our infrastructure, and work to improve our quality of life.

“I will admit we have far to go, but we have achieved much in this short a period of time. But I also recognize that everybody has that right (to file a recall petition).”

All Louisiana citizens are granted the authority to seek a recall election for any reason, according to Section 26 of Article 10 of the Louisiana Constitution.

Drummond said that he was aware of the petition’s filing, and the displeasure of some people in the community, but he would not let anything get in the way of his duties as a Bogalusa City Council member.

“I’d just like to say to all the citizens of Bogalusa that I’m aware of (the petition being filed),” he said. “ I’m not going to let it deter me from my job as a councilman. I’ll continue to work hard for you. I’ll try to get your street lights fixed; I’ll try to get your potholes filled. I will not let it detract me from my duties. I’m proud of the job I’ve done up till now and I’ll continue on the same course.”

Moses said that he does not typically get involved in controversial issues such as these, but felt it was the right thing to do. As a veteran, he noted that he fought for freedom and the rights of all people.

“The only reason I’m in this fight is because I love my family, I love my community and I love my people,” he said. “If it wasn’t about love, I’d sit at home and forget about what’s going on. I’d just go ride my horses.”

Moses also encouraged all citizens of voting age to be sure to register to vote.

“I believe that we have more than enough who are willing to sign this petition to bring about change,” he said. “This is not a game; this is not a front; this is not a joke. This is real.”