Sulphur residents petition for elected city charter commission members
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Sulphur residents are seeking signatures for a petition they hope will give more voice to the citizens.
“The petition is for the city council to hold an election for the commissioners to be elected to rewrite the city charter,” Sheila Broussard said.
The city’s Home Rule Charter is essentially its constitution. It lays out guidelines on how the city should operate.
Mayor Mike Danahay said there have been talks of updating the city’s current charter.
“It has a lot of outdated material in it that we think needs to be updated,” Danahay said. “There is some changes in state statue that are not reflected in the city charter, which we want to bring it up to date.”
“The constitution specifically says that if 10% of the electorate, which there are about 12,000 voters in Sulphur, If 10% sign the petition, then the governing authority, which is the city council, shall call for an election,” Broussard said.
Danahay said there are certain procedures on how to set up a charter commission.
“One way is by the council appointing a charter commission or calling for a vote for a charter,” Danahay said. “The other was through a citizen’s initiative which would be a petition, and there are procedures that have to be followed in order to do that, as well.”
Sheila Broussard is spearheading the petition. She said one of the driving factors to petition is the belief that elected officials better represent the citizens, among term limits and bringing back filmed council meetings.
“If there were completely different people on that council, it would not matter to us,” Broussard said. “We just believe that these commissioners should be elected and not appointed.”
Danahay said either procedure must be ultimately voted on by the council.
“So, through the initiative of the council calling a charter commission or a citizens petition, it all has to go to ballot,” Danahay said.
Danahay said there currently is no intent to bring talks of a new charter before the council.
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