Council will vote on temporary replacement for councilwoman before special election

In the aftermath of former longtime councilwoman Wendy Benedetto’s departure, the St. Charles Parish Council will soon appoint a temporary replacement to serve in her role as Councilman at-Large of Division A until the role can be filled via a special election.

By parish charter, the council has 30 days from the date of Benedetto’s resignation to name someone to fill the role, and has six months from that date to hold an election to fill the role permanently.

Benedetto, 54, announced on Aug. 11 she was resigning from her position effective Aug. 25, citing personal reasons related to family. She spent more than 12 years with the parish council, first as councilwoman of District 3 and then in her current role as at-Large councilwoman of Division A. She began her career in parish government in 2007.

She was elected Councilwoman at-Large in 2015 and re-elected without opposition last year. Her term was to run until January of 2024.

Michelle Impastato, Council Secretary, said the temporary appointment for a council vacancy must be voted on by a majority of the council. Council members may nominate and interview candidates for consideration, and a majority must be established before the 30 day deadline elapses. According to the parish charter, the presiding officer of the council – in this case Council Chairman Dick Gibbs – shall not vote on the appointment unless a tie vote occurs, in which case he would vote to break the tie.

She said the parish is sending correspondence to the Secretary of State to notify of the vacancy, and the Secretary of State will set a time for the special election. Impastato said the announcement of a special election date will likely come in the next 60 days.

The temporary appointee would serve until the election winner assumes the office.

 

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