Petition to recall Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis fails

Published 12:02am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

VIDALIA — A petition attempting to recall Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis died Monday when the group of residents behind the petition didn’t turn in the document containing the necessary 1,174 signatures.

Concordia Parish Registrar of Voters Golda Ensminger confirmed Monday that the petition requiring signatures from 33 and 1/3 of the qualified electors of the voting area was not turned in by 4:30 p.m.

The deadline for any recall petition document is 180 days after being filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, which was July 17 for the Lewis petition. The actual deadline fell on Sunday but was pushed to the next working business day — 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Lewis said that while he thought the residents who submitted the petition had every right to do so, the outcome of the petition was not something that kept him up at night.

“I went into the military to protect the right for people to voice their opinion or say whatever it is they want to say even if I don’t like what they’re saying,” Lewis said. “I didn’t have time to sit and worry about the petition or the signatures, because I have to worry about the safety and protection of the people of Vidalia.”

An official statement regarding the recall effort was sent from “The Recall Committee” thanking those involved in the petition.

“Even though we came up short by 204 signatures, we feel good about what we accomplished,” the e-mail said. “The information we were able to make public has made the people more aware and watchful of what is going on in their police department.

“This effort puts officials on notice that the public is watching, and if necessary a new petition can and will be started.”

The petition listed Vidalia residents Anthony Scott Cupit as chairman and Martha Maxine Lushute as vice-chairman.

After the petition was submitted in July, Lushute said she didn’t consider the petition a vendetta against Lewis or his administration, but that he simply hadn’t delivered what he promised to some residents.

Lewis said he was never told directly by anyone supporting the petition why it was created, but that he was going to continue leading the Vidalia Police Department the only way he knows how.

“I’m going to continue to run this police department as a law enforcement officer and not as a politician, because I have more than 30 years experience in law enforcement,” Lewis said. “I’m going to continue doing what I told the people I was going to do — be the best police chief I can be.

“I pray that the people who had something against me — for whatever reason — move on with their lives, so I can move on with my life and continue leading this department.”

In March, Lewis won the election for Vidalia police chief against opponent Todd Ainsworth by 39 votes.

Lewis — who won a special election for the seat in April 2011, after serving as chief on an interim basis for five months — had 869 votes. Ainsworth had 830 votes.

  • Anonymous

    I’m happy to see it’s over with. He still has the demeanor like that of Andy Griffith. Please, let him protect us with his likeness.

  • Anonymous

    In Reality, (that is philosophy for those who don’t know, reality is
    the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or
    might be imagined.)

    The petition did not fail. The people of
    Vidalia just did not want to sign a petition.

    Not saying the people of Vidalia is bad. Just the
    word ” petition” seems like a bad word to some. Voters putting their name on a
    piece of paper is much different that

    going behind a curtain and voting . They don’t
    want nobody, even the people who counts the votes, to see their name on a ”
    Petition” . The word ” Petition ” scares

    many voters. But that is ok. The petition was a
    very large success !!!!

    And the very part in this article that states
    Lewis says ” I didn’t have time to sit and worry about the petition and the
    signatures” …. I’m sorry, that is bull.

    He could not even go anywhere, talk to anyone,
    where HE didn’t ask questions about the petition. But that is ok, I would have
    also, if my butt was in the same position as his.

    And yes, the petition did keep him up at night
    !!!

    In another statement, Lewis stated that ” he was
    NEVER told by anyone supporting the Petition” Mr. Lewis, please don’t start
    this.

    You were told. You know, It’s on audio tape. But
    that is ok. There are more and more people watching you now more than
    ever. Even big brother !!!!

    Now, that is REALITY !!!!

  • Anonymous

    1blacksheep
    I see you still the fool you are you should talk to GOD in 2013. Good job Chief Lewis.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew
    5:22
    But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause
    shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother,
    Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool,
    shall be in danger of hell fire.

    Eph. 4:26

    “Be angry and
    do not sin . . .”

    baseball2,

    I will be praying for you & Arthur Lewis too, not only in 2013, but for years to come !!!!

    Both you and I both need to pray and talk to God about many things. Don’t WE …..

  • Anonymous

    1blacksheep
    GOD bless you to. I pray all the time. You need to talk to Chief Lewis he is a good Guy

  • Anonymous

    WELL, THEY TRIED WITH THE CHIEF, THE SAME WAY THEY TRIED WITH THE PRESIDENT. THEY FAILED BOTH TIMES. THAT *BLACK* CHIEF ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE.