GONZALES — Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said Monday that the deadline would pass at midnight without the City Council naming a replacement to fill former Councilman Gary Lacombe’s seat, and now it will be up to the governor to make a temporary appointment.
“What we’re going to do is let tonight go by” without filling the vacancy, Arceneaux said Monday afternoon.
While the city had 20 days from Nov. 25 — which is when Lacombe resigned — to name a replacement, the governor has no deadline to select someone to fill the vacancy, said Meg Casper, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office.
A temporary appointment also will have to be named to fill the second vacant seat on the City Council — that of former Councilman Timothy Vessel, who lost his seat when 75 percent of the voters approved ousting him in the Dec. 6 recall election.
In cases of a recall, the official voted out of office has nine days from the election to contest the results or he is out of office, and for Vessel, that deadline ended at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Vessel could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
The city has 20 days to name a temporary replacement for Vessel or it also will be left up to the governor to name one.
Arceneaux said the city will consider calling a special meeting this week to appoint someone to the vacancy.
The two temporary appointments will serve until a special election is held to fill Vessel’s and Lacombe’s unexpired terms, both of which end Dec. 31, 2016.
At its Dec. 8 meeting, the Gonzales City Council approved a resolution to hold a special election March 28, 2015, to fill Lacombe’s unexpired term.
Arceneaux said the city plans to call for a special election on the same day to fill Vessel’s vacancy.
“Each of them is a little bit different,” Arceneaux said of the circumstances surrounding the exits of Lacombe and Vessel.
Lacombe quit almost two weeks before the Dec. 6 election. His name also was on the ballot alongside Vessel’s to be recalled, but votes for Lacombe were not counted after he resigned.
Vessel attended the City Council’s Dec. 8 meeting because he was still within the nine-day time frame for contesting the recall election.
At that meeting, he seconded a motion by Councilman Terance Irvin, the only remaining councilman of a three-member voting bloc that once included Vessel and Lacombe, to add to the agenda a discussion of a temporary appointment to Lacombe’s former seat.
Such an agenda change, however, requires a unanimous vote of the council, and Councilmen Kenny Matassa and Kirk Boudreaux voted against the motion.