Petitions to recall Mayor and Board of Selectmen
Petitions to recall Homer Mayor Alecia Smith and the town’s five-district board of selectmen has garnered the attention and signatures of residents.
As of Sunday, more than 100 individuals had placed their John Hancock’s on the two petitions — one to recall the mayor, the other to recall all council members. According to members with the Claiborne Concerned Citizens Peace Coalition, individuals will continue going door to door collecting signatures for days to come.
In a statement to KTBS Saturday, Homer Police Chief Russell Mills said he will be signing his name on the petitions. During a March 1 community forum, District 3 Councilman Don McCalman said that he would also sign the petition to recall Smith.
Under Louisiana law, the petition shall be signed by 33 and 1/3 of the qualified electors of the voting area wherein a recall election is petitioned, or 40 percent of the qualified electors within the voting area where fewer than 1,000 qualified electors reside in the voting area.
The petitions trail a string of controversial issues —the town’s February decision to disband the Homer Police Department; a petition for an injunction filed by the police chief against the mayor and town; and accusations that the mayor misused public funds.
Among the long list of accusations residents claim Smith received hundreds of dollars in advance for meals associated with travel expenses; however, charged those meals and alcoholic beverages to the town’s Visa card. Residents also say Smith was reimbursed for taxi fees without providing a receipts.
The council remains under heavy public scrutiny for its practices and procedures. Residents say the council has repeatedly violated open meeting laws. In a special meeting Saturday the council acknowledged that it failed to comply with open meeting laws during its February meeting. As a result, the violation voided the decision to disband its law enforcement agency.
The Town will hold its regular monthly meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
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