New Berwick mayor, Patterson police chief elected
Berwick elected a new mayor and council, and Patterson elected a new police chief and one new council member Tuesday. Morgan City voted in a new council member, too, filling an open seat.
Patterson also re-elected its mayor and four council members.
Duval Arthur was elected mayor of Berwick with 81 percent of the vote, or 1,492 votes. The other candidate, Jessie Boudreaux, received 19 percent, or 353 votes, according to complete but unofficial results on the Louisiana secretary of state’s website.
Current Berwick Mayor Louis Ratcliff, who served three terms, was term-limited and could not seek re-election. Arthur also served three terms on the town council.
All five of Berwick’s current council members either were term-limited or didn’t seek re-election. The new council will consist of Tuesday's top five vote getters, which are Lud Henry, James Richard, Kevin Hebert, Colleen Askew and Raymond Price.
Garrett Grogan was elected Patterson police chief by getting 55 percent, 1,151 votes. He defeated James Carinhas, who had 29 percent or 598 votes, and Craig Verdine, who got 17 percent or 353 votes.
Former Patterson Police Chief Patrick LaSalle retired in March. Janis Merritt is currently serving as interim police chief, but the city charter doesn’t allow the interim chief to seek election.
Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan was easily re-elected to a third term, getting 72 percent, 1,492 votes. Challenger Bealizeia “Billy” Badeaux received 28 percent, or 585 votes.
For the Patterson council race, one new member, Lee Condolle, was elected, while incumbents Travis Darnell, John Rentrop, Joe Russo and Sandra Turner were all re-elected. Councilman Larry Mendoza didn’t seek re-election.
In the Morgan City District 4 Council race, Steve Domangue got just enough votes, 51 percent and 525 votes, to win the election outright. Jarrod Wiggins got 33 percent, 335 votes, and John DuBois received 16 percent, 164 votes.
The District 4 race was to fill the seat of former Councilman James Fontenot, who resigned about a year ago. Ray Autrey is serving as interim councilman, but didn’t run for election.
Arthur reflected on being elected Berwick mayor after 12 years as a councilman.
“Being a councilman and being mayor is two completely different things,” Arthur said. “If a mayor chooses not to bring something up, then it never gets brought up.”
“I think it’s going to be an exciting time in Berwick, and I’m just glad to be part of it,” Arthur said.
Arthur also expressed gratitude to Boudreaux for his efforts running for mayor.
Town officials plan to put much effort into improving Berwick’s infrastructure, including roads and drainage, Arthur said.
Arthur thinks he’ll be able to work together well with the new council members who have some “fresh ideas,” he said. Berwick leaders hope to draw more interest along Front Street and encourage new business to move there, he said.
Arthur retired earlier this year as director of the St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Arthur also was previously Berwick police chief for 12 years.
Garrett Grogan, who’s been a Patterson police officer for 26 years, is excited and glad that the election is over, he said. He plans to put people “in places where they need to be” within the police department, he said.
He also wants to try to “put Patterson like it was before when Chief LaSalle was there,” he said.
Garrett Grogan has “done a little bit of everything” within the department having been in the juvenile, narcotics and detectives divisions.
“I’m still going to work closely with the guys and work on cases,” he said. “I’m still going to be putting my feet to the ground and making things happen for the city of Patterson.”
Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan said being elected to a third term was a “vote of confidence from the citizens of Patterson” in his administration, and he was extremely appreciative of that.
He received 54 percent of the vote in the 2010 election and then 60 percent in the 2014 election.
“To increase by 12 percent to be elected for a third term, it really speaks volumes,” Rodney Grogan said.
The Patterson mayor pointed to improvements to infrastructure as something his administration has worked to improve in the city.
Rodney Grogan’s No. 1 priority during his next term is to make corrections in the city charter, and he hopes to bring charter amendments to voters’ ballots next fall. He especially wants to make charter changes to give sole hiring and firing authority to the police chief within the police department.