In Louisiana, an effort to recall three of the eight members of the Vermilion Parish School District Board of Education was approved for circulation on September 9, 2019.
The targeted officeholders are District A member David Dupius, board president and District C member Laura LeBeouf, and District D member Dale Stelly. Vice president and District F member Kibbie Pillette was also considered for recall, but no petition had been filed as of September 24, 2019.
According to Lynn Vincent, who chairs the recall committee, the school board’s decision to place district superintendent Jerome Puyau on paid administrative leave for a second time is the cause of the recall effort. Vincent told KLFY News 10 that the superintendent’s suspension was a waste of taxpayer money and politically motivated. The recall petition alleges that the board members “are more concerned about political and/or personal agendas than the concerns of their own constituents and the children of Vermilion Parish.”
Puyau was placed on administrative leave in July 2019 after he was accused of failing to put items on agendas as requested by board members, hiring personnel who did not meet board-specified qualifications, and using board funds to pay private attorneys’ fees without the board’s knowledge or approval.
All three of the recall targets provided responses to the petition to KLFY News 10:
- David Dupius said, “I work with my constituents. I speak with my constituents. I stand by my constituents. That’s all I have to say about it.”
- Laura LeBeouf said, “Basically, I think this recall committee is a tactic and aim at board members when you have five board members that are addressing issues to come at us. I see it as a political tactic.”
- Dale Stelly said, “Everyone has their views and their rights to do what they see fit. In my base, precinct, and those people there by a large margin, basically elected me, and told me when I went house to house that they wanted to elect me to make a change.”
Recall supporters have until March 9, 2020—180 days—to collect the signatures of one-third of the total registered voters across the three school board districts represented by the targeted board members.
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.