NEW ROADS — The abrupt resignation of Mayor Robert Myer Friday means the City Council within the next 20 days must appoint someone to serve in New Roads' top administrative position until local voters return to the polls next year for the city's regular elections.
City Attorney John Wayne Jewell said Friday the city doesn't need to hold a special election to fill the position because Myer left office within 18 months of the next regular election date.
"We'll probably call a special meeting soon," Jewell said. "There the council will appoint someone as mayor until the next election."
Myer had to resign from office Friday as part of a plea deal on charges he faced for his alleged misuse of a city-issued credit card and abusing his administrative authority as mayor.
It's possible the council could choose Mayor Pro-Tem Anthony Daisy to serve in the interim, or they could choose someone else, Jewell said. If Daisy is chosen, the council will also need to appoint someone to serve in Daisy's Pro-Tem spot, he added.
Daisy on Friday could not be reached to comment.
Myer was in the third year of his second four-year term as mayor. He was elected to office in 2010, succeeding previous mayor Tommy Nelson, who was convicted in 2011 of racketeering, wire fraud, lying to investigators and the use of telephones in aid of racketeering. He was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in federal prison.
Myer was set to go to trial Jan. 16 after being indicted last year on nine counts of malfeasance in office and a count of abuse of office. He instead entered a no contest plea on Thursday to one count of malfeasance in office as part of a plea deal with state prosecutors.
As part of that deal, Myer was forced to resign from office and he agreed to never seek the position ever again.
In his short resignation letter to the Secretary of State's Office Myer wrote, "It has been an honor to serve the city of New Roads over the past seven years and help it grow and prosper."
An investigation by the state's Inspector General's Office uncovered that Myer had used a city-issued credit card for personal transactions, including $1,800 that was not repaid to the city.
The IG also found that Cherie Rockforte-Laviolette, the city's former chief financial officer, told state investigators that Myer ordered her and the town's police chief to delete and alter information on credit card statements after the city received a public record's request to review them.
Members of the council on Friday seemed eager to put the scandal behind them — their thoughts on Myer's tenure varying.
"It's just unfortunate we've been under this dark cloud for two administrations," Councilman Kurt Kellerman said. "We'll see our way through this and there will be brighter days ahead for the city."
Councilwoman Bernadine St. Cyr instead focused on the positive aspects of Myer's tenure, praising him for economic development endeavors she said attracted more businesses, jobs and better housing to New Roads.
"We had a mayor who did an excellent job," she said. "Despite what happened, he moved the city forward. It was a pleasure to serve with him."