According to Claston Bernard, one of the organizers of the petition, approximately only 300 signatures were gathered by Tuesday, October 8, which was the deadline for all signatures to be turned in.
The petition for recall was filed at the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office in early April of this year. At the time, Bernard went on record with his reasons for showing his support.
“We feel there are more competent people in the community; people who are not attempting to push forward an individual agenda, but instead have the best intentions of the citizens at heart. For this reason, we feel this is an important thing to do.”
The straw that broke the camel’s back for Bernard was what he called “the Emerson debacle.”
Councilman Lacombe, along with fellow Councilmen Timothy Vessel and Terance Irvin were seen to want to stop the Fortune 500 company coming into the area. Many felt that they were blocking progress in the city.According to the Secretary of State’s website, the rules for recall petitions are straightforward.
“The petition shall be signed by 33 and 1/3 of the qualified electors of the voting area wherein a recall election is petitioned.”
As the City of Gonzales has registered voters in the region of 6,000 residents, the number of needed signatures was slighty more than 2,000. With only a small portion of that number being garnered, the Recall Councilman Gary Lacombe Committee’s outcome was bleak.
Had the petition to recall been successful, a legal process would have required Lacombe to step down.
“If the recall passes, the public officer is recalled and removed from office and the office is declared vacant when the election returns are certified to the secretary of state. The office will be filled as in the case of ordinary vacancies and according to the constitution and laws of the state. The recalled official cannot be appointed to fill the vacancy; however the recalled official may qualify to be a candidate in the special election to fill the vacancy.”
Bernard’s disappointment with the failed recall attempt was clear when questioned.
“It’s unfortunate that we never progressed any further than we did,” he said. “So many voters in the city were vocal and stated that they felt Lacombe should go. When it came down to it, though, the support for actually signing their names was lacking. I am grateful for those who tried to make it happen. That being said, though, my heart hurts for what is to come for this city.”