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Ascension Parish Councilman Dempsey Lambert, far left, watches as then-Parish President Kenny Matassa speaks at the lectern on Friday Jan. 25, 2019, in Gonzales, about a regional drainage agreement between Livingston and Ascension parishes. A recall campaign has been launched against Lambert

Drainage concerns helped lead to the filing of a recall petition against Dempsey Lambert, a five-term Ascension Parish councilman who has led drainage efforts in the parish for years, supporters said Thursday.

The petition recalls have launched against four members of the 11-member council by residents upset about the growth impacts on roads, drainage and other infrastructure.

The Louisiana Secretary of State's Office confirmed on Wednesday night that the petition against Lambert had been filed late last month. That started the 180-day clock to collect enough signatures to force a recall election. 

Council District 5 is in Ascension's northeast corner around Galvez and eastern Prairieville and was hit hard in the August 2016 flood.

In a recall, voters would be asked whether to remove Lambert and call another election to select someone else to fill his remaining term.

Phillip Bellan and Emily Fall are the recall effort's chair and vice chair, a state summary says. Bellan, 31, an industrial hygienist from the Galvez area, explained Thursday that the petition was brought for a combination of factors.

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Lambert, who is the chairman of the East Ascension drainage board, voted to remove Parish President Clint Cointment as administrative head of drainage, though voters had supported him with an understanding that drainage would be one of his jobs, Bellan said.

Also, Lambert and the other council members don't have a coherent plan to replace Cointment, Bellan said, even as Lambert's district has continued to have drainage problems for which the councilman hasn't had sufficient answers or listened to suggestions.

"Drainage in the parish is steady getting worse, and people keep flooding with every rain," Bellan said. 

Under state law, the recall effort needs signatures from one-third of the registered voters, or nearly 3,000. About 150 signatures have been gathered already and signing events are planned, Bellan said.

Lambert wasn't immediately available for comment Thursday.


Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.