Lea Anne Batson

East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson in 2018 file photo.

Amid a push to send the East Baton Rouge parish attorney packing, Metro Council members are already lining up who they'd like to see as a replacement.

Councilman LaMont Cole has asked his colleagues to consider firing Lea Anne Batson, but hasn't said why. With that move under consideration, two members of the Metro Council already have a temporary replacement in mind, according to emails The Advocate obtained Monday.

Batson has said she's being pushed out so Cole can appoint her first assistant, Tedrick Knightshead, but Councilwomen Erika Green and Tara Wicker are poised to push city Prosecutor Andy Dotson as the interim parish attorney if Batson is shown the door. Green has asked that an item be placed for introduction on Metro Council's Jan. 23 meeting, stating that Dotson should step in if Batson is removed.

Green's Jan. 11 email to Council Administrator/Treasurer Ashley Beck also indicates that Green would like the resolution to include language that would prevent the Metro Council from appointing Knightshead.

Neither Cole, Dotson, Green nor Wicker returned calls Monday seeking comment. Batson and Knightshead each declined to comment.

The Metro Council could vote to remove Batson after the public hearing scheduled for its Jan. 23 meeting. Batson has served as the Parish Attorney Office's top official since the council fired her predecessor in 2015.

According to the city-parish Plan of Government, if Cole has enough votes to oust Batson at next week’s public hearing, the council would have to give Batson written notice stating the grounds for which they want to remove her. Another hearing must take place within 10 days of the Jan. 23 public hearing, and then Batson could make a final plea for her job before the council’s vote to remove her would be final.

Green's email to Beck states that the resolution she's sponsoring with Wicker should include language restricting anyone from being appointed as interim who is not employed with the Parish Attorney's Office upon Batson's possible removal.

"I would also like the language to restrict the council from appointing anyone who is employed with the Parish Attorney's Office but has submitted a letter of resignation after Dec. 1 until Lea Anne is removed," Green wrote.

Green's email also says she want the item to prohibit anyone who has submitted their resignation after Dec. 1 "from withdrawing that resignation and being eligible to be appointed."

"I want the only people eligible to be appointed to be employees of the Parish Attorney's office and no one else," Green wrote.

The language would impact Knightshead's eligibility to serve. On Dec. 14, he submitted a letter of resignation from the No. 2 spot in Batson's office. His resignation is effective Jan. 31.

He has previously denied wanting Batson's job and said he was ready to move on from the Parish Attorney's Office where he was worked for the past 13 years.

Batson previously informed the Metro Council she had appointed Dotson to become first assistant after Knightshead's resignation takes effect. Dotson has served as the city prosecutor since 2016.


Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.