As mentioned in a letter from the Attorney General’s Office, in order for any legal consequences to happen regarding the absences of Terika Williams-Walker of Dist. B and Vincen Bradford of Dist. C, they would have to be carried out by Webster Parish’s District Attorney, Schuyler Marvin.
Marvin stated in an interview with KTBS Tuesday that this week he will be filing a writ of mandamus against the two council members for their lack of attendance of the 5 prior City Council meetings.
So what is a writ of mandamus? It is a court order that is given to public officials telling them to perform their duties.
“A writ of mandamus may be directed to a public officer to compel the performance of a ministerial duty required by law, or to a former officer or his heirs to compel the delivery of the papers and effects of the office to his successor,” according to Louisiana State law.
So the writ can essentially be seen as a “warning” before more serious charges could potentially be brought up such as the malfeasance that the previously mentioned Attorney General’s letter discussed.
Regarding Marvin’s decision to bring forth some legal authority to try and get the Councilmen to attend meetings, Mayor Terry Gardner said, “I’m really sorry that our District Attorney had to get involved with the City’s business, and for the steps he has had to take to encourage our City Council members from District B and C to come to meetings. However, City business must move forward,” said Gardner.
He went on to describe what exactly the City has had to put on hold due to the Council not being enough present Council members to vote for over two months.
“We have a 30,000 dollar grant that needs to be approved. We have two police officers and a fireman that are ready to go to work. We have a Mayor Pro Temp who needs to be elected so, in the case something were to happen to me, we can have a signature to sign the books. We need to discuss and vote on an interim city councilman for District A and we need to hire a city attorney.
None of this is personal, this is all city business. These are just things that need to be taken care of in order for the City to operate. I’m sorry that it’s come to this, but they were elected to serve the citizens and the City of Minden and part of that is coming to a meeting and voting.”