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Vessel voted out as councilman; SaveGonzales celebrates


Nearly 75 percent of Gonzales voters chose to oust Gonzales City Councilman Timothy Vessel, Sr. in Saturday’s recall election, making his seat the second vacant position on the council in less than a month as Gary Lacombe resigned his seat just before Thanksgiving. Despite a large number speaking out and showing up at the polls to oust the embattled councilman, Vessel is still all smiles.

“I thank God people allowed me to stay in office for two years and they trusted me and I want to thank the people who did vote against the recall and God is still good,” Vessel said in a phone interview with the Weekly Citizen. “I’m still victorious in His eyesight.”

With 2,159 citizens voting to cancel Vessel’s services, while only 723 voted his work continue he is still optimistic he is a asset to the community’s future.

“I’m going to be in the community,” Vessel said. “I was a valuable source for the community and will continue to be available for the community.”

Vessel said he’ll continue to be at the council meetings and involved in other areas in the community.

“I thank the community and God bless them and God bless the next elected candidate and we’re getting ready for 2016,” Vessel said. “2016 is two years away and Mr. Vessel will be in the community.”

After the results came in, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said it’s just ashame that it had to come to that.

“We have a wonderful city and I’ve stated over and over again that we have a lot of positive things going on here,” Arceneaux said. “The people spoke and 75 percent is a pretty good call. What they want to see now is government in action, and government that’s going to take care of the people of the city.”

The mayor maintained his stances that he is behind public safety and that he believes the city should give them the best equipment it can afford, and “we can afford it.”

“The goal, I think, of what government is to try to get better and better and we’ve got the right location. We’re in the hot bed of south Louisiana,” Arceneaux said.

Chuck LeBlanc, Chairman of the SaveGonzales group who initiated the recall of Vessel and Lacombe in the late Spring, said Saturday’s results were a great accomplishment but not a surprise.

“We did what we had to do to get the people out to vote,” LeBlanc said. “We talked to a lot of people and knocked on a lot of doors and made a lot of phone calls. We felt good about it.”

“It’s time for this city to move forward in a positive way,” he said. “We need people up there that will move this city in a positive way and want to get big industry to come in and create jobs for our people.”

The next men up to fill the now two vacant spots on the council have yet to be determined, but will come on recommendation from the mayor and the remaining three council members.

When asked about Vessel’s hints towards a 2016 election unknown seat, LeBlanc said SaveGonzales isn’t going anywhere.

“We will stay together as a group and we will watch and see what happens,” LeBlanc said. “As far as Mr. Vessel 2016, that’s his privilege. I have some numbers that show 2,159 wanted him recalled and 723 didn’t. That’s a whole lot of people. Maybe in two years he can convince a lot of them to change their mind.”

“Whoever runs, we will be watching. From now on we are going to watch who runs and we’re going to be sure this doesn’t happen again. Nobody is asking us to do this, we’re doing it on our own,” LeBlanc said.