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Councilman Fowler files motion related to Alexandria’s budget, implies majority of council should be removed

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Alexandria city budget issues that were seemingly resolved back in July are now back in the spotlight because of a new motion.

District 5 Alexandria City Councilman Chuck Fowler filed a 154-page motion for summary judgment that can be viewed at the bottom of this article. KALB has read all the documents, which not only asks that Fowler not be associated with the council in the lawsuit over the budget back in May, but also claims that five council members acted to violate Alexandria’s City Charter and should therefore forfeit their spots on the charter.

However, Councilman Fowler claims he’s not trying to remove anyone, even though the motion implies it multiple times.

The council members that Fowler calls out in the motion are Catherine Davidson, Cynthia Perry, Gerber Porter, Jim Villard and Reddex Washington.

Back in April, those five members voted to amend Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall’s budget to include extra money for pay and recruiting for the Alexandria Police Department, as well as money for drainage projects. When that amended budget was vetoed by Mayor Hall, those five voted again to override.

The mayor then filed a lawsuit over the budget in May against the entire city council, including Fowler. Councilman Fowler said that the purpose of this new motion is to not associate him with the council when it comes to the amended city budget.

“My motivation to filing it was to establish that I and Lee Rubin had done the correct thing in voting against the budget,” said Fowler.

However, that’s not the only item the motion calls for judgment on. Just below that first request, Fowler’s motion also asks to declare that Davidson, Perry, Porter, Villard and Washington acted to violate that Alexandria City Charter.

Below are both items listed in the motion:

“Declare that Fowler neither violated the Alexandria Home Rule Charter nor state law as raised in the original petition filed by Mayor Hall and the City, with regard to budgetary processes; and that Fowler is free from fault in this regard”

“Declare each and all of the defendants to this motion are not free from fault by having acted individually and together in violation of the City of Alexandria Home Rule Charter, Louisiana Local Government Budget Act, and other applicable state law, in a form and manner consulting actions which in their official capacities as public officials involved their knowing and/or intentional: (i) failure to perform a duty lawfully required of each of them, as such officers; (ii) performance of their duties in an unlawful manner; and (iii) improper directives to other public officers or public employees, under their authority, to perform a duty lawfully required to those officers or employees, or to perform such duties in an improper manner.”

Fowler claims that the charter was violated because members moved to defund former Public Safety Commissioner Daryl Terry’s position as well as authorized a budget that allows for expenditures to exceed revenues. If this was done, then the motion claims that under the city charter in Sec. 2-04 that they “are disqualified by law from holding public office.”

Despite this being bolded three times in the motion, and mentions made about removal are mentioned multiple other times, Fowler claims he is not trying to remove a majority of the city council.

“That is not my intention of trying to remove anyone from office,” said Fowler. “My intent is to simply establish that I did the correct thing, the right thing and the legal thing to do. That’s why we filed this motion.”

To reiterate, there are two separate parts to the motion: one separating Fowler from the council when it comes to the budget and another establishing that the council members that voted for the amended budget violated the charter.

KALB did try to reach out to all five members named in the motion for comment.

“We did not knowingly violate the charter,” said District 4 Councilwoman Catherine Davidson. “The mayor and this administration accepted the exact eight line items related to the budget.”

District 1 Councilman Reddex Washington said, “If I made a decision, I will stick to my decision that I made because I feel comfortable with the decision that I made.”

Council President Jim Villard said he did not wish to comment on the motion, and KALB was not able to reach Cynthia Perry or Gerber Porter.

This motion will need an opinion of a judge, but as of right now, there have been no movements in the courts yet.

Fowler’s Full Motion:

Document by KALB DIGITAL on Scribd

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