East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards has selected a local attorney who has lived in her council district for her entire life as the person she wants to fill the remainder of her council term when she leaves for the state Legislature.
Edwards emailed Metro Council members on Thursday asking them to support Erika Green, a 30-year-old Democrat, to fill her seat until her council term ends Dec. 31, 2016.
Edwards and fellow Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle were both elected to the state House of Representatives and will be sworn into their new offices Jan. 11. Both are second-term council members leaving their local offices early.
Under the Baton Rouge Plan of Government, if a council member leaves office with less than a year left before the member’s term ends, the rest of the council votes to decide whom it wants to fill the seat. Traditionally, the remaining council members defer to the choice of the exiting council member.
If a council member leaves with more than one year left in his or her term, a special election is called to allow voters to choose whom will fill the seat.
The openings have caused some controversy with Marcelle, because she initially chose Isaiah Marshall, former Capital Area Transit System board chairman, as her replacement.
Marshall drew criticism and calls for his resignation while at CATS after The Advocate reported another board member had wired public funds from the agency to pay personal bills.
Marshall, as board chairman, had been aware of the situation for at least two months before notifying law enforcement. He did so only after the news media reported the story.
Marshall, for his part, has said he didn’t immediately report the infraction because he was personally investigating the matter to determine if other staff members were involved.
Marcelle said this week she plans to resign from the Metro Council before the end of December, which will force a special election to fill her seat. She said she wanted to take that route because she was concerned the council would put in a person who didn’t have the district’s best interests at heart if it didn’t accept her recommendation to appoint Marshall.
Edwards said in an email Thursday that she hopes the council would go along with her recommendation.
“It is my hope that the longtime precedent will stand firm as my public service with the council comes to an end (i.e., the incumbent or departing member’s recommendation will weigh heavily on the council’s decision since we are most familiar with our district’s state of affairs),” she wrote.
She added that she recommended Green “without hesitation or reservation due to her impeccable credentials.”
Green is a private-practice attorney who graduated from Southern University Law Center in 2010. She’s a member of Forum 35, the Baton Rouge chapter of the NAACP, and the Junior League of Baton Rouge. She has interned at the East Baton Rouge Public Defenders Office.
“I grew up in District 5 and have lived here all my life,” Green said. “It’s my home area, and I want to be able to make my community proud.”
Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel is proposing a plan this month that would allow anyone interested in the open seat to apply for consideration from the Metro Council.