Archive for January, 2012

Latest on Mayo/IUOE Endorsment Controversy

01/31/2012

Union leader says Mayo support was local, not from entire union

The union support Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo received last was real, but it was not necessarily the vote of all members of that union who are scattered all over the state.

Gary Carmack, business manager of Local 216 of the International Union of Operating Engineers in Baton Rouge, said Monday that there is no local affiliate of the union based in Monroe, but there are about 20 members of the union who work for the city of Monroe.

Last week, Monroe Mayo Jamie Mayo characterized an endorsement of local 216 as “strong.” He put down an endorsement of his opponent by the city employees union because it had less than 100 members.

Statewide Local 216 has a large number of members. In Monroe, there are less than 20 affiliated with the Baton Rouge local.

The local union representative for Local 216, Toby Price contacted the Free Press Monday to say that the support offered last week was unanimous from the men who work in the water treatment plant in Monroe.

He said that there was no vote, but the feeling was unanimous among the men in the department.

He said he spoke at last week’s endorsement, but re-iterated that there was no actual vote taken.

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Jonesboro’s Budget

01/31/2012

With the revelation that the Town of Jonesboro’s revenues are significantly less than budgeted, and expenditures are in many cases more than budgeted, what are the next steps to be taken?

LA RS 39:1310 – Amending the budget

A. When the governing authority has received notification pursuant to R.S. 39:1311, or there has been a change in operations upon which the original adopted budget was developed, the governing authority shall adopt a budget amendment in an open meeting to reflect such change. When an independently elected parish official has received notification pursuant to R.S. 39:1311(A), or when there has been a change in operations upon which the original adopted budget was developed, the independently elected official shall adopt a budget amendment and publish such amendment in the official journal as described by R.S. 39:1307(B). In no event shall a budget amendment be adopted proposing expenditures which exceed the total of estimated funds available for the fiscal year.

LA RS 39:1311 – Budgetary authority and control

A. The adopted budget and any duly authorized adopted amendments shall form the framework from which the chief executive or administrative officers and members of the governing authority of the political subdivision shall monitor revenues and control expenditures. The chief executive or administrative officer for a political subdivision subject to public participation as provided in R.S. 39:1307 shall advise the governing authority or independently elected official in writing when:

(1) Total revenue and other sources plus projected revenue and other sources for the remainder of the year, within a fund, are failing to meet total budgeted revenues and other sources by five percent or more.

(2) Total actual expenditures and other uses plus projected expenditures and other uses for the remainder of the year, within a fund, are exceeding the total budgeted expenditures and other uses by five percent or more.

(3) Actual beginning fund balance, within a fund, fails to meet estimated beginning fund balance by five percent or more and fund balance is being used to fund current year expenditures.

Higher Ed Roundup – 1/31/12

01/31/2012

Letter: Academic debt to LSU athletics

Local 216 Represents Monroe Water Plant Employees

01/30/2012

International Union of Operating Employees (IUOE), Local 216 – based in Baton Rouge – represents some of the City of Monroe water treatment plant employees, according to a contract negotiated with the city in the fall of 2010.

See here the document.

Union Local That Endorsed Monroe Mayor Mayo From Baton Rouge

01/30/2012

The union local that last week endorsed Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo for re-election is not based in Monroe, contrary to reports in the local daily newspaper.

Mayo gets city union backing

A local union on Thursday endorsed Mayor Jamie Mayo to show its confidence, as city employees, in the existing leadership at Monroe City Hall. The International Union of Operating Engineers (Local 216), along with Sanitation Superintendent Don Hopkins, Purchasing Manager Greg Yoes, and a roomful of city employees and supervisors from various departments gave Mayo their endorsement Thursday at his headquarters on Stubbs Avenue.

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 216 is headquartered in Baton Rouge, according to the union’s website.

See here the map.

The Monroe Free Press on Saturday reported the story.

Mayo accused of staging fake union endorsement

The race for mayor of Monroe is heating as accusations between Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and one of his opponents intensify.

What appears to have been a staged media event involving a non-existent Monroe union endorsement of Mayo is at the heart of the latest flap.

Third Version of J’Boro Budget Ordinance Tabled – Serious Revenue Shortfall Now Evident

01/30/2012

A third version of Budget Ordinance #706 was shown to the Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen at last Friday’s special called meeting, only to be tabled because additional changes needed to be made, according to the town’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson.

The latest revision lists revenues and expenses of about $3.77 million, compared to what was introduced last November (about $3.42 million), and an earlier revision revealed in December that showed the number at about $3.44 million.

See here the documents:

#706 – latest revision
#706 – first revision
#706 – original

Budget spreadsheet – latest revision
Budget spreadsheet – first revision

Multiple versions of budget ordinances for which public hearings had not been held is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, Essmeier v Jonesboro. The town lost the suit last August in a ruling by Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) District Court Division B Judge Jimmy Teat.

That ruling was appealed by the defendants to Louisiana’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and is awaiting resolution.

Meanwhile, it appears that the town’s budget amending process still does not meet the Local Government Budget Act’s mandate.

Serious Revenue Shortfall Now Evident

Another problem was revealed in other documents presented to the board – a serious revenue shortfall compared to what was originally budgeted.

Halfway through the 2011-2012 fiscal year, revenues from sales and use taxes from the first six months are at about $262 thousand (31%) of the $850 thousand that is budgeted to be collected. The number should be close to half of the budget, or about $425 thousand.

See here the document.

A similar situation exists in the street and water fund, where revenues are at about 31% halfway through the fiscal year.

See here the document.

Other revenue line items that are below budget are licenses, other/miscellaneous, garbage fees, and fines/forfeitures.

Total operating revenues so far this fiscal year – excluding grants – are about $600 thousand compared to operating expenditures of about $800 thousand.

Taxpayers will need to watch for attempts to “borrow” state and federal grant monies, and use those funds for town operations. Grants are specifically dedicated to projects and by law must be used for those specific purposes.

Legal Services Agreement

Also discussed at Friday’s meeting was the legal services agreement between the town and Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) Assistant District Attorney Douglas Stokes, the town’s legal adviser.

District B’s Renee Stringer inquired as to whether an individual board member could ask the town attorney questions, or would they have to submit them first to the mayor in writing.

Asked Stringer, “If this council has a question, we have to pose it to the mayor, and then he presents it to you – is that how it works?”

Stokes replied that indeed that was the case.

“You ask the mayor to ask an opinion from me – in writing – and I respond – in writing,” Stokes said.

See here the document.

Higher Ed Roundup – 1/29/12

01/29/2012

TOPS designed to just take some off the top of college costs

Royce Toney Tampering With Witness?

01/28/2012

Sheriff Royce Toney may have dug himself deeper in the hole by his firing of Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO) Col. Marc Mashaw.

What Toney has done looks like witness tampering to us.

18:1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant

(b) Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to—
(1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;
(d) Whoever intentionally harasses another person and thereby hinders, delays, prevents, or dissuades any person from—
(1) attending or testifying in an official proceeding;

18:1513 – Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant

(e) Whoever knowingly, with the intent to retaliate, takes any action harmful to any person, including interference with the lawful employment or livelihood of any person, for providing to a law enforcement officer any truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission of any Federal offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

According to KTVE-TV10’s Johnny Gunter, when Toney was asked if the conflict related to the ongoing federal investigation into the sheriff’s office, Toney terminated the phone call. Mashaw was quoted as saying that he “did not leave voluntarily.” See the TV10 story here:

OPSO Third in Command Off the Job

The FBI raided Toney’s administrative offices on Feb. 8 of 2011, seizing records and computers. So far the investigation has resulted in the arrest of Toney’s information technology director Maj. Michael Karl Davis.

KNOE on Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Tax Hike

01/28/2012

Lincoln Parish Sheriff puts 1/4-cent sales tax on April ballot

New Filing in EXCO Tax Claim

01/28/2012

An Answer has been filed in the lawsuit of EXCO Operating Company vs Debra Jackson, administrator of the Jackson Parish Tax Commission.

Shreveport attorney Richard Barham filed the document last Monday in Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) District Court in Jonesboro.

EXCO had alleged that sales taxes were improperly charged on several non-taxable transactions between contractors and EXCO, such as construction, repair and servicing of immovable property, installation services, well fracturing services, and other down-hole services.

The Answer denied almost all the allegations.

See here the Answer
See here the lawsuit