After close to two months of work, the Concerned Citizens Committee of Washington has gathered the required signatures to proceed to the next stage of a recall of Police Chief Ronelle Broussard.
At least 40 percent of Washington’s 807 registered voters — 323 people — were required to sign in order for the petition to move to the next stage.
The completed petition then went to the parish registrar of voters after it was filed with the secretary of state.
St. Landry Parish Registrar of Voters Cheryl Milburn said Friday after she approved the petition that it was sent to the governor’s office and the petition is now with the state attorney’s general office where it will be decided whether there will be an election to possibly remove Broussard.
“A lot of people think that once they get the signatures, that (elected) person is automatically removed from office,” she said. “That is not how the process works.”
If the attorney general rules that an election should take place and the recall passes, the office will be vacated after the ninth day following the recall vote. If the recall fails, Broussard will remain in office.
Broussard is allowed to run in the election to fill the vacant position. Washington Mayor Joe Pitre would appoint someone to run the police department until the election.
In a July town meeting, citizens began to voice frustrations involving Broussard’s work performance, shortly after he was elected to a second term. Some people said they believed he was away from the office too much and not fulfilling his duties.
The chief has been on medical leave since February from an on-duty accident in his office where he a broken elbow as well as back, neck and eye injuries.
There were other instances in which Broussard has faced criticism in the last year.
In April, a state audit claimed he had reached beyond his authority by creating a system of setting bail and collecting cash bonds for people charged with driving with suspended licenses or possessing drug paraphernalia. Only the mayor’s court can set bond prices.
Broussard said he did not want to comment on the recall petition.
“I’m just focused on getting better,” he said.