C. Denise Marcelle won't resign council seat in time for special election
BATON ROUGE – Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle said in a phone conversation late Wednesday afternoon, she will not resign from her metro council seat until her term begins in the State House of Representatives, effectively requiring the council to appoint her replacement to city government instead of forcing a special election.
Marcelle said, though, she is frustrated about what she believes is unnecessary controversy about her suggested replacement: former CATS Board President Isaiah Marshall. Marshall resigned in July 2013 in a cloud of controversy involving management of the bus system, including questions about missing money and allegations that a board member used bus system money to pay bills. Then, Marshall said the bus system was dysfunctional and needed to go in a new direction.
Marcelle said she met with Marshall only after members of her council district suggested he replace her when she assumed her new role in state government in early 2016. Marcelle said Marshall was the only person interested in replacing her on the council, so she had no choice but to back requests that he be suggested as her replacement.
Marcelle believes issues about the appointment are politically motivated and spearheaded by at least one person who does not live in her district.
"I was greatly concerned that Rolfe McCollister was either texting or calling council members and asking metro council members not to vote for Isaiah Marshall as my replacement," Marcelle said. "I'm concerned people who have not had any input or done any real work in my community...now tell my district who needs to lead it," she said.
McCollister is a magazine publisher in Baton Rouge and is also on the LSU Board of Supervisors.
"Mrs. Marcelle expressed her views on what she thought would be best for BR and I expressed my views in an editorial. I'm a citizen of this community and have a right to participate in this discussion," McCollister told WBRZ News 2.
Marcelle said she took to Facebook Tuesday night to express her discomfort with the situation and insinuated she may resign soon enough to require a special election. But, she said Tuesday, lawyers for city government said the earliest the city would be able to have an election would be in November – the same time as the general election for the council seat.
"There would be no sense in me stepping down [in time for a special election]," Marcelle said.
Marcelle is not sure if she will still back Marshall to replace her on the council until the election. Marcelle was in California on business Wednesday. She said she plans to meet with Marshall and community leaders when she returns to decide how to handle support of her replacement.
Marcelle must resign when she becomes a member of the House on January 11th. If Marcelle resigns before January 1st, an election is required to fill her seat. Resigning after January 1st only requires a temporary appointment until the next election in November.
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