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Ascension residents file petition to recall councilman after controversial drainage vote

2 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Wednesday, July 21 2021 Jul 21, 2021 July 21, 2021 5:50 PM July 21, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

ASCENSION PARISH - Residents disgruntled over a vote to remove Ascension President Clint Cointment from overseeing the parish's drainage efforts have launched a recall campaign targeting one of their councilmembers.

The East Ascension Drainage Districtwhich is made up of parish council members—voted 6-4 to remove Cointment during a special meeting last month. Before the vote, dozens of residents spoke in favor of keeping Cointment in charge of drainage. 

"When the flood was going on [in May,] while everybody else was at your house sleeping, 2 o'clock in the morning, [Cointment] was up, helping people with sandbags, trying to make a difference," one resident told the board. "Now that's what you call leading by an example, and that's what he should be [doing] and that's what each and everyone of you should be doing."

The special meeting came in the wake of a contentious council vote over Cointment's proposal for a year-long moratorium on new developments, which the president said would give officials more time to consider how the parish's rapid growth has affected flooding. The parish council ultimately approved a shortened version of the proposal, restricting the construction of new businesses and homes for only nine months. 

Cointment, frustrated over what he perceived as a half-measure to address flood worries, traded words with Orgeron after that meeting. 

"Dig our ditches, dredge our canals! Please!" said Orgeron, interrupting Cointment as he spoke with reporters.

"Get out of the way. Look, you've got plenty of time to sit up there, and chastise me, and complain about me," Cointment responded. 

Orgeron and other members of the drainage district voted to remove Cointment a little over a week later.

After that vote to remove Cointment, several residents in attendance said they planned to pursue recalls of Orgeron and two other councilmembers—Aaron Lawler and Teri Casso—who sponsored the agenda item at the special meeting. 

The recall petition targeting Orgeron was officially filed Wednesday, citing his "refusal to do the will of his constituents" as reason for the filing.

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