With the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s (LPPJ) show of independence last week by not rubber-stamping the Lincoln Parish Fire District #1 board recommendations, it seems a controversy has erupted, and there are misconceptions about just who is the boss.
Board of Commissioners chair Tom Thompson has dispatched another letter to jurors and board members berating a juror for his lack of knowledge about operations and suggesting that another juror should apologize for opining that maybe new blood was needed on the board.
Wrote Thompson, “I would like to suggest that when questions about the Fire District arise, it would be greatly appreciated if jurors would contact someone who knows the answers.”
We decided it was time to see who’s the boss, according to the law.
Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1 was created by the jury in April, 1991, via resolution 91-19.
See here the document.
That authority is granted via LA RS 40:1492 – Power to create.
The jury has the power to enlarge or redistrict, via LA RS 40:1493.
Further, LA RS 40:1509 seems to authorize more board members to be appointed by the jury than are presently serving.
…the board of commissioners of a fire protection district in the parishes of Avoyelles, Lincoln, St. John the Baptist, and Webster shall be comprised of at least one member from each ward located within the boundaries of the district.
Presently, only Wards 1, 2, and 3 are appointed by jurors. Two other Ward 3 members are appointed by Vienna and Simsboro, the Ward 4 member is appointed by Dubach, and the Ward Five member is appointed by Downsville.
However, the jurors in Wards 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 all represent property owners that are outside the Ruston city limits, and that are within the fire protection district, yet they have no members appointed to the board.
So if the present fire board gets too independent, it looks to us like the jury could appoint a bunch of new members and remind the district who is in charge.