DeRidder City Council vote for president ends in a tie

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The vote for the new DeRidder City Council president ended in a tie at Monday’s meeting.

Two council members were nominated for president: Wayne Godfrey Sr., District 1, and Council Vice President Randy Larken, District 4.

Godfrey was nominated by John Marcello, District 3.

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Marcello noted that Godfrey has learned to “resolve conflict and manage debate” from his experience as a pastor.

“I have learned that he has the type of temperament that would make him a good president for our council,” he said. “I know Councilman Godfrey would really like the opportunity to be president and assume that responsibility.”

Hooper nominated Larken. He explained that moving up through leadership has always been the natural progression of the council.

“In my ten years that I’ve sat on this council, I have seen leadership work their way up. I would like to see ‘new’ serve as vice president before they step up to take the full leadership.”

Marcello acknowledged Larken’s capabilities but questioned if he would have time to fulfill his duties, stating that to his understanding, Larken did not consider reelection in the past because of “work restraints for family responsibilities.”

“I have enjoyed in the past councilman Larken being president. He made an outstanding president,” he said. “Do you really want to take on, and do you have that time again now that things have changed to take on the responsibility, or are you agreeing to be president because you’ve been approached?”

After being pressed by Marcello, Larken confirmed that he did not run last time because he needed a break and is “well capable” of being president. He also clarified he is motivated to be council president on his own accord.

Godfrey said that he is seeking the role of council president to bring about citywide change, expressing that connectivity between council members is lacking.

“My goal is to get us together, to come together as one – put our personal views, our personal opinions aside so that we can do our dutiful work that we were voted to do for the people.”

Godfrey received three votes to be elected. At least four votes are required for council action. As Councilman at Large Vincent Labue was not present at the meeting, the vote hit a stalemate.

For a revote to occur, Labue will need to submit a letter requesting a revote to the city clerk. Additionally, council members can submit individual written requests to change their vote.

If the proper steps are taken, the council plans to revote for president during the first August meeting. If a request is not submitted, Hooper will remain president.

District 2 appointment

Councilwoman Artemese Hickman, District 2, is stepping down from her seat; Monday was her last meeting.

She thanked her constituents for trusting her to serve them for two years

“We haven’t always agreed, but I do believe that we’ve always put the people that we represent and serve in mind and on the front burner,” she said to the council during her remarks.

She is resigning from the council to accept an appointment with the state, but could not say more than that.

Her letter of resignation was submitted to the state on Monday. After receiving the letter, the council will then have 20 days to fill the vacancy. At the meeting, Hooper expressed that he would like this action to happen at the July 22 meeting. Otherwise, the council will have to hold a special meeting for the appointment.

Hickman has submitted a letter of recommendation for her replacement. Council members will be able to submit nominations before the vote.

It was stated at the meeting that the president revote would occur after the District 2 councilmember appointment. However, City Attorney Charlie Lestage clarified in an email to the American Press that there is no requirement to fill the seat before a revote, and if requested could take place at the next meeting.