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Southwest Louisiana ,
(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Alderman takes post after Oberlin mayor resigns

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 10:43 AM

By Doris Maricle / American Press

OBERLIN — The town council on Monday unanimously selected Alderman Mark Manuel as the town’s new mayor to succeed Rick Smith, who resigned last week after serving three years as mayor.

Manuel, who has served on the council for 11 years, will serve until municipal elections are held in October.

The council has 25 days to appoint someone to fill Manuel’s vacant council.

Smith announced his resignation Jan. 8 citing lack of communications and willingness to work together among the mayor and town officials.

A resignation notice received by the Secretary of State’s Office on Jan. 10 gave no reason for stepping down.

“I hope I can get this straightened up,” Manuel said of the town’s financial troubles. “If we can work together, we got it.”

The town failed to comply with state law and its own policies, and sloppy internal control practices have resulted in financial losses, according to a recent town audit.

The audit found 16 infractions, including half a dozen considered violations of state laws, during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. Many of the findings were unsolved issues from past years.

The town is also operating with a more than $300,000 deficit with many bills left unpaid as town officials consider increasing water and sewer rates to generate more revenue.

“My plan is to get this town back on track and get the bills paid,” Manuel said after the meeting. “We need to get that done before we decide to go up on water and sewer rates.”

“Hopefully we can get the town back in financial shape and moving on.”

Manuel was nominated as mayor by Alderman Phil Beard with a second from Alderman Wayne Courville.

Alderman Janice Simon withdrew a motion to nominate herself and nominated Beard, who declined the appointment nominating Manuel.

Posted By: Paul O. Vizena On: 1/14/2014

Title: When the Dust Settles

When the Dust Settles, we will see how this all plays out. My guess is, we will find out Rick was the one wearing the white hat. The town is losing their first chance at change for the good in decades! Without placing blame on others, let's just say politics has been running the town, until Rick! All I can say is "shut up, and live with what you have asked for!"
Paul O. Vizena

Paul O. Vizena" />

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