MARINGOUIN - Monday, the new mayor broke her silence about her decision to replace the town's fire chief; a decision that has brought controversy to the streets of this usually quiet Iberville Parish community.
"At the end of the day, he's out," Mayor Demi Vorise said. "It's my decision; I'm authorized. I don't have to give a reason why I did it. The reason is, I'm authorized to do so."
At the town council meeting she called the situation a "fire fiasco" and called for an end to the controversy it has caused. She promised a new chief will be appointed soon.
"I want to reassure the town that we will be protected," said Vorise. "There is no concern and no one should be alarmed."
Monday's meeting came after a WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit report found the mayor did not re-appoint the chief to his position. Last week, the former chief told WBRZ he was fired and believed the mayor had a vendetta.
"I've been there for 32 years and she said I'm not longer the fire chief so I guess there's a play on words, I think I'm fired," Michael Gaudet said about his situation.
Gaudet believes his problems with the mayor began a couple of years ago when he would not let Vorise maneuver around a road block.
But, Vorise said that is not the case.
"I love all God's children," she said. "I have nothing against Mr. Gaudet whatsoever."
The change forced some people to leave the department, a move people called small town politics at Monday's meeting. The new assistant chief - who replaces one of the men who left the department - said new volunteers have joined and the department is prepared for an emergency.
"We are ready to respond," John London said. "We are ready to continue our volunteer work."
Vorise says she plans to appoint someone to chief in the next few days. The next Maringouin town council meeting is March 2.