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Mixed reaction in Port Allen to Judge's ruling

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PORT ALLEN - Opinions are mixed in Port Allen less than 24 hours after a Judge issued a late-night ruling involving the mayor.

Three council members sued her to get a judge to rule on issues of concern for them. They were partially successful. 

"I just hope the city can move forward, and they can get the business of the city done," Port Allen resident Isaac Thomas said.

In court last night, Judge Alvin Batiste ruled Mayor Deedy Slaughter can keep her $85,000 salary as long as the council approves a budget amendment. He also ruled she needs to pay back part of a car allowance that she should not have received, and she can't pay for her attorneys' fees without approval from the council.

One issue that caused some confusion in court involved a ruling involving the lockout of Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain from the city's bank accounts. Batiste stated the council needed to create and pass an ordinance that spells that out because the city is governed by the Lawrason Act.  The act is over a century old and does not specify "online banking access" in the duties for the Chief Financial Officer. 

As all sides left court, attorneys for the mayor and the council both declared victories.

"The next step is to make sure we move with the Mayor to move as quickly as possible and the council to try to get them on the same page," said Slaughter's attorney, Ron Johnson.

"Ms. Slaughter has to follow the rules," the council's attorney, J. Arthur Smith III, said.  "She's indicated her intention not to follow the rules, isn't interested in following the rules."

Although some are willing to give the Mayor a second chance, others say the only way to move forward is with a change in leadership.

"What we've got now in the first six months of her administration is nothing but tyranny," Port Allen resident Ned Phillippe said.

All of the residents said they love the community which is why this issue has fueled such passionate opinions.

"I just hope we can all work together and get this city moving forward and get this to be the next great city on this side of the river," Thomas said.

We reached out to get a comment from Mayor Slaughter today, but she did not return calls for a comment. At the end of this month, all sides will be in court again to hash out Audrey McCain's lawsuit against the Mayor.

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