The Anacoco Town Council has called a special election for March 24 to fill the unexpired term of Police Chief Randall Bryan.
Bryan, according to Mayor Keith Lewing, notified the Louisiana Secretary of State in late November that he intended to resign his post effective Dec. 31.
His decision and the special election date were revealed at Monday night’s council meeting.
Sewing said the council met in special session on Dec. 1 at 1:30 in the afternoon to approve the election date after receiving notification from the Secretary of State’s Office that Bryan was stepping down.
Notice of that meeting was posted on the Town Hall bulletin board for the information of anyone who happened to stop by and read it. Law requires it be posted 24 hours ahead of such a meeting.
Lewing said Monday night that he chose not to notify area media of the resignation and special meeting. “All we were doing was setting an election date,” he said. That had to be done before the window closed for getting the vote on the March ballot.
Such meeting notification is not required under Louisiana law unless requested by the media. If such a written request is made, notification of all meetings, regular or special, is required in the same manner as is given to members of the public body.
The chief election will be added to the ballot for the already-scheduled March 24 municipal election date. Qualifying for the election will be Jan. 3-5.
Bryan is in effect retiring, but state law prohibits retirement during an elected term. Bryan was elected to his current four-year term in November 2016. He has 18 years in the police chief’s job.
The council will have to appoint an interim chief to serve until the election process is completed. Lewing said Monday night that it is possible that will be delayed until qualifying for the election is completed, though that would leave a vacancy in the post for a few days.
The mayor said during the meeting that he has been talking to council members "one on one" about an appointment. Such discussion outside a public meeting is permissible under Louisiana law as long as polling or a "straw vote" is not conducted.
Lewing said a special meeting of the council may be called to make an appointment. He did not say whether media would be notified though that is considered likely.
In many instances, appointing authorities get a pledge from an interim appointee that he/she will not seek election to the post. Whether that is Anacoco’s intention is not known.
Lewing reviewed for the council and the audience the laudatory text to be inscribed on a plaque which will be presented Bryan, who was not present.