KILLIAN -- Turmoil for this troubled municipality grew much when the town clerk announced her immediate resignation Tuesday during the meeting of the Board of Aldermen.
The departure Julie Monteleone, who said she was "embarrassed to remain in her position," creates a quandary for the municipality because she was the only town hall employee. Her resignation effectively shut down daily operation of the town hall, Mayor Peter Bock said after the meeting.
"We've gone from a big mess to a huge mess in this town," he said.
Her announcement followed a two-hour, tension-filled meeting with heated arguments over the missing gear for the now-defunct diving team, the town water company and several other issues. Many of the squabbles have involved Bock and Alderman Gillis Windham, who is seeking the seat of interim mayor in the Nov. 6 election.
Bock and no other town officials knew Monteleone's intentions before she made her announcement. She handed her keys to Bock and left the premises immediately after the tendered her resignation
Monteleone became town clerk shortly after the August 2016 flood. She described the last year as "a struggle every step of the way."
"I take pride in doing what I think is right, but unfortunately I stand alone," she said. "Instead of setting aside difference and working for the betterment of the town, you have all shown you'd rather work divided and accomplish nothing."
Windham and the rest of the aldermen expressed remorse over the resignation.
"I feel bad for what she went through with (former mayor) Craig McGehee, Peter and all of us as a board," he said.
Monteleone's resignation left no employees to run the town hall during its regular business hours of 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bock put a notice at the door, along with his phone number, on Wednesday morning.
Monteleone's resignation may not necessarily remove her from her duties. State law will mandate she continue her duties until the town finds a replacement, said Karen White, executive council for the Louisiana Municipal Association.
Revised Statute Title 42:3.2 of the Louisiana State Law mandates "every public officer in the state except in the case of impeachment, suspension, or meeting the term limitations shall continue the duties of his or her office until the successor is inducted into office."
The clerk vacancy falls under the same statute that requires Brian Abels to remain town attorney despite his resignation.
"As long as she's alive, she must continue her duties until they appoint a replacement," White said. "It's not an ideal scenario."
Unlike the employment legal counsel, however, state law requires each municipality employ a clerk to run the day to day operations, which include payroll, customer service, insurance, retirement and other issues.
State law allows a municipality 20 days to appoint a replacement clerk, something White is not sure the council can accomplish.
"The mayor and council can't agree on what time it is, so I'm not sure that will happen," she said.
If Bock and the board cannot agree on a replacement, the responsibility to appoint a replacement will rest on the shoulders of Gov. John Bel Edwards.
The mayor can recommend a replacement clerk, but the demands make experience a priority, White said.
"It requires a quick learner," she said.
No standard operational protocol exists for a municipality to operate a town hall. Towns usually determine their own procedure for days and hours of operations of the municipal facility, White said.
Killian presents a unique situation, however.
"It's rare to have a town hall with not more than one employee," White said.