Lee Zurik Investigation: "Concerned Citizens" groups to attempt coroner recall

Members of various "Concerned Citizens" groups in St. Tammany Parish listen as leadership discusses the recall effort
Members of various "Concerned Citizens" groups in St. Tammany Parish listen as leadership discusses the recall effort

A St. Tammany Parish good government group wants to get the parish coroner out of office.

The group voted Monday evening to start the process of removing Dr. Peter Galvan from his job.

The leadership from different "Concerned Citizens" groups in St. Tammany Parish took just a minute to vote to move forward with a recall effort.

"I think it's a good decision," said Rick Franzo of Concerned Citizens of Lacombe. "I think that when you have a bad employee, whether he's an employee of your business… if he doesn't do right by that business, he should be fired."

For almost seven weeks, FOX 8 News has aired a series of stories questioning the management at the Coroner's Office.  Most disturbing to this group are the exorbitant salary of the coroner -- $200,000 a year, making him the highest paid elected official in the state -- and the unused vacation and sick time that Galvan cashed out.  As our reports show, while records indicate Galvan took no time off, Facebook photos tell a different story.

A recall would allow voters to pick a new coroner and new salaries for Galvan's replacements and employees.

Recalling Galvan will be difficult.  This group has half a year to get signatures from about 53,000 registered voters in St. Tammany.

"We will set up how we're going to do it structurally," Franzo said.  "It will take some time.  We have six months to execute a recall of Peter Galvan.  We'll structure in such a way that we can go into large areas and get signatures and go through the process."

No parish-wide elected official has ever been recalled in Louisiana.  It will take money, organization and tens of thousands of signatures.

Once the paperwork is filed with the La. Secretary of State to start the process, they'll have six months to gather those 53,000 signatures.

--