Public Hearing on Proposed Ordinances
Last night’s meeting of the Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen was preceded by an hour-long public hearing on three proposed ordinances:
712 – Mayor’s Pay
713 – Use of Public Vehicles
714 – 2012/2013 Budget Amendment
Perhaps 2/3 of the meeting was taken up by the town’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson’s speechifying.
Thompson began by declaring (like former President Richard Nixon) that he was not a crook, and that the pay raise he received over two years ago was completely legal. This, despite courts all the way up to the Louisiana State Supreme Court ruling otherwise.
Said Thompson, “I actually had the clerk to reduce my salary. To reduce it – not because we’d done anything wrong – because that matter will still go to court.” He added, “And when it gets to court, what they’ll be discussing – we’ll be discussing at that point is whether or not the town actually followed the rules and regs, and we did everything by law that you have to do to introduce an ordinance. The town – and I’m speaking from my perspective now – feels that we did everything by the law, and there will be no need for that to be overturned.”
The first citizen to speak was Bob Rubens, who asked Thompson why he was qualified such a raise in pay.
Thompson replied by citing former President Bill Clinton. Thompson said that Clinton had remarked recently that in order to be a good speaker, first you must be a good listener. Thompson went on, “A lot of the problems that we’ve had in this town, I think, has a lot to do with folks not being willing to listen.”
Rubens retorted that what he recalled about Clinton was that he “did not have sex with that woman.”
Said Rubens, “That’s the only thing I know him for, he lies through his teeth. If you want to associate with him, that’s up to you.”
On #713, the discussion mostly was about paying for personal use, mileage logs, and whether or not the mayor is “on call” 24 hours a day. Again, Thompson monopolized most of the time.
During the regular council meeting, #713 was tabled.
Discussion on ordinance #714, the budget amendment, held a surprise to the citizens and council.
Thompson presented an amendment to the amendment that had not been seen by the council, nor had it been published for public review. The new amendment had funding for one police officer and also matching money for a federal grant to seal-coat the airport.
Also to be funded was reinstatement of the City Court.
Last-minute budget amendments that had not been properly vetted was a losing issue for the mayor in the protracted court battle of Essmeier v Jonesboro.
More reporting later.
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