Stewart: “Financial Crisis” at DA’s Office

Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) District Attorney Jonathan Stewart yesterday told the Finance Committee meeting of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) that his office was in a “financial crisis, ” and asked them to add $50 thousand to the $110 thousand already budgeted for his office this year.

“Despite everything that we’ve done in the DA’s office to economize, cut costs, etc., we’ve reached a financial crisis,” Stewart said. “We’re going to have a difficult time making payroll in March,” he added.

Stewart outlined the shortfalls in fines and forfeitures, and in non-sufficient check (NSF) collection fees. Technology, specifically electronic check verification, has caused the number of NSF checks to decline significantly.

Steward also said he had economized as much as possible, saying he drives his personal car and is reimbursed only for fuel.

The committee, however was cool to Stewart’s plea for extra funds.

Jury President Todd Culpepper (Ward 1) – sitting in as committee chair for an ailing Nate Zeno (Ward 4) – suggested that before additional funds be committed, that all interested parties meet and exchange ideas.

Said Culpepper, “I would like to sit down with – have the sheriff involved, have you involved, the police jury involved – and look at numbers.”

Committee member Chuck Garrett (Ward 6) was a bit more blunt.

“If he’s having budget problems, he needs to tighten his belt, not go around looking for a handout,” Garrett said.

In point of fact, the 2nd JD DA’s revenues have nearly doubled since 2000. According to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s (LLA) documents, the revenues for the fiscal year 2000 was about $825 thousand, while in fiscal year 2010, the revenues came in at about $1.55 million.

See here the documents:

12/31/2000
12/31/2010

The discussion touched on the increased cost the jury has incurred to house prisoners at the parish detention center, an issue that is also of concern in Ouachita and Lincoln parishes.

Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth Pardue noted that in 2003, prisoner costs were about $195 thousand, compared to 2011’s costs of about $497 thousand.

Eddie Langston (Ward 2) commented that the area town’s detainees are paid for by the jury and the municipalities don’t pay toward prisoner upkeep. The December bill for the Town of Jonesboro’s prisoners was about $5300, which translates to about $60 thousand/year.

The group’s consensus was that prisoners need to be gotten through the system more quickly and get them off pre-trial status and into the state’s system.

Culpepper said he “was not for giving any money out until we address the problem.”

30 Responses to “Stewart: “Financial Crisis” at DA’s Office”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Well…Well…Well….

    DA Stewart & Mayor Thompson both attended the same money management classes or seminars…..spend, spend, spend and ask for some more when the well is running dry.

    Get cases resolved sooner??? Wait, we like to postpone, postpone, postpone.

    I wonder if the postponing happens while the lawyers on the payroll are out handling private cases????

    Culpepper and Garrett….thanks for speaking up.

    Who is handling the DA’s budget for him? Leslie and the aldermen of Jboro????

    • Anonymous Says:

      DA Stewart may not be able to get things to court cause his budget is in financial trouble…he is too busy handling the money matters than doing the job in the courtroom.

      Town of Jonesboro needs to pay the Parish for housing the prisoners of Jonesboro….Leslie help out DA Stewart….you the man with all the money.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Why isn’t Jonesboro paying their share to house the detainees?

    Just another reason to dissolve the Town of Jonesboro Police Department …just have the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Department.

    Saves money ’cause I surely believe there is money being spent on duplicate services that can be saved.

    A parish wide fire department would also be of benefit.

    Chief Horton….retire….

    Culpepper….take a look at this idea as a cost cutting measure in these times of high spending!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Sounds like it is time to retire the Jonesboro Police department and just have Jackson Parish Sheriff handling everything.

    Culpepper…..get on it!

  4. anonymous Says:

    Mr DA you will just have to tighten your belt. The people of Jackson Parish have no sympathy for you. Either procute the cases before you or recuse yourself from those you are dragging you feet on and move them thru the system.

    If muncipalities can budget for police departments they should pay for housing their detainees. Mr. DA are you seizing drug dealer assets? Other parishes do and have auctions of such.

    Thank you Mr. Cupepper and Mr. Garrett, question everything, don’t go along to get along.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe some straight shooting from the police jury will improve the finances of the parish….

    Sure shootin! Will see you there!

  6. Frosty the Snowman Says:

    Mr. Stewart, when you do the job that we elected you to do, then maybe you can have a raise. Your office in a “financial crisis”? Are you kidding me? You are “PART” of the reason our town is in a financial crisis, along with the mayor, Fannin and the Legislative Audit Committee.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    First of all the Police Jury is responsible for the housing and health care of all pretrial prisoners no matter who arrest them. Langston likes to spout his opinion before he thinks. If the police dept. is gone then the same offenders being arrested by the sheriff’s office would be paid for by the jury including all medical and dental . What cost so much is the juvenile housing. I agree that the courts need to move faster. Maybe the D.A needs to take over the Jonesboro court. There’s alot of money tied up there not being collected.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    the police jury is already giving the da”s office 100,000 a year, what you wanna bet they give them more…its strange that when walter was da you didnt have these problems ..and before thompson either..time to go guys, give someone else shot

    • Anonymous Says:

      You never heard about them, because you didn’t have people after them like these do. I mean they made an online paper just to talk about Leslie.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    AG Opinion # 00-0221

    • Anonymous Says:

      Police Jury has a duty to maintain a parish jail, and those prisoners who have been convicted of violating any state law must be taken care of without charge to municipality, but prisoners who have been given a jail sentence for violation of a municipal ordinance should be taken care of by the city in either a municipal lockup provided by the city or city authorities can, by contract, make financial arrangements with police jury for maintenance of prisoners

      So if Police Jury has to bear all the costs….then why do we need Town Cops?

    • Anonymous Says:

      that isnt what i was refering to..da stewart came before the police jury and told them he was in bad financial shape when he took office. the jury agreed to give the da’s office 100,000 a year, ( 25,000) a quarter.. its in the police juries budjet

  10. Anonymous Says:

    As far as i am concerned, they can shut the DA’s office down, Johnathan has not done his job, so why pay any more. When you call the office one of the Ladys is rude as can be.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    What a laugh! A guy who does not function in his elected position and receives $100,000 to run his office cannot make it on that! I can see no sympathy on the part of the people of Jackson Parish to dig deeper into pockets to give more funds to him. Why doesn’t he prosecute cases before him and seize and sell assets of those found guilty of drug distrubuting and 3rd and 4th DWI charges? New (and old) Police Jury members, hold that line for giving away money.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Motion Mr. Smith seconded Ms. Monroe to approve the request of an additional immediate appropriation of $20,000 to the district attorney’s office, and to increase the quarterly reimbursement to $25,000 effective immediately. Motion carried….this is from the police jury website minutes march 23, 2009..

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Well, he drives his personal vehicle…this is good…..and only turns in his gas….this should be very little since we know he does not drive to Jonesboro.

    I am surprise he came to the Police Jury meeting on Monday.

    Perhaps since it was so easy to get the money a few years ago, he thought it would be so easy again…

  14. SeeSaw Says:

    Well, Mr. DA, I wish I could play a violin! Maybe you should call the grant lady and see if she can get you a grant.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Come on Mr. Pardue…you are the money keeper….give the DA the money….he might not make payroll next month…boo hoo!!!

    Perhaps the DA can work a few months pro bono for the fine folks in his area!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Time for a reality check. All governmental agencies overspend and over extend themselves. Learn to do more with less. We should demand performance standards. Private business and citizens are having to cut back and adjust. It’s the new reality, get used to it, make adjustments and put your hand back in your pocket.

  17. interested Says:

    Thank you, Mr. Culpepper and Mr. Garrett!! Had it not been for you two, he would probably have received the money on the spot!! Don’t forget that the daughter of one of the jury members is employed by the D.A.!!! Perhaps Mr. Stewart can get his former asst.d.a. to contribute something since he allowed him to delay his resignation long enough to draw his state retirement—which we all pay for. Enough, Mr. Stewart, you should be embarrassed to ask Jackson Parish for ANYTHING!! It’s great to see that we might actually have jury members who are willing to stand up for a change!!

  18. Albymyself Says:

    Well, Mr. DA, I guess it’s my turn to ask you a few questions about how our money is spent. Does the name Mary Nguyen ring a bell? Do you have any idea what the 6th amendment is about? How much money did it cost us, the tax payers, to keep her in jail for 5 years without a trial?
    I’ll just close by saying” Hitch that money wagon back up because there will no free bees today!

  19. Albymyself Says:

    Sorry anon got sidetracked by DA nonsense. Checked on the story about Ms. Nguyen. Very interesting reading if you want to know how our money is wasted. Also, did you know that the largest personal robbery in the history of the State of Louisiana was perpetrated right here in our little town? Would have paid most of the debt Mr. Thompson has incurred. Just what do they investigate?

  20. Anonymous Says:

    I think it would be a waste of time for anybody to try to see the copies of checks he is talking about. Not only is the mayor not going to show you any, but he will spend a lot of your time telling you how he is being persecuted.
    If he really wanted the taxpayers to see them, he would publish them in the paper or one of the many websites.

  21. Albymyself Says:

    After thinking about it the checks would do us no good. They are not the real problem. We would have to see the whole package. Checks, deposits, and all cash receipts from the day he took office. I could show you my checks and it would prove nothing except the fact I had the ability to write checks and didn’t care if they were hot checks or not. I believe that is why he is so willing to flaunt them in public. Just because he ran out of money doesn’t mean anything except ,like the DA claims,he didn’t have adequate income to run the town. Sorry Anon we have to come up with a better plan. If it were that easy the sheriff would have just gone there and cleaned house. I’m afraid the DA is going to claim that is why he hasn’t prosecuted Mr. Thompson. Let me know if you think of anything.

  22. Navarone Says:

    PRELIMINARY NOTICE AND AGENDA
    STATE BOND COMMISSION
    MEETING OF FEBRUARY 16, 2012
    10:00 A.M. – SENATE COMMITTEE ROOM A
    STATE CAPITOL BUILDING
    1. Call to order and roll call.
    2. Approval of the minutes of the January 19, 2012 meeting.
    TAB 3 – LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL UNITS – ELECTIONS (APRIL 21, 2012)

    84. L12-037 – Jackson Parish, Town of Jonesboro (DEQ Project) – Not exceeding $1,836,000 Sewer
    Revenue Bonds, Series 2012, non-interest bearing, not exceeding 20 years, acquiring, constructing
    and installing improvements, extensions and additions to wastewater collection, treatment and
    disposal system.

    How will the wonderful James Roy Fannie help him pay this off? Will the D.A. help them help themselves to this?

  23. Albymyself Says:

    Navarone.
    Are you kidding? By the time they add in all the overrun cost there will be plenty for everyone except us. We will be the taxpayers paying for Gate City sewage the next 20 years. The interesting part of all this is where are all the people from Gate City who want to be on our sewer system? Were they at the Police Jury meetings begging to be added? Did they ask to be put on the agenda for Town of Jonesboro meetings so it could be brought before the public at large? Where are copies of the fact finding committees we hired to consider the feasibility of taking on this debt without incorporating Gate City with the town of Jonesboro. Think about it. They will be paying a sewage charge. Woo Hoo!!!!!!! how stupid are we as citizens? I don’t particularly care if they have city sewage in Gate City do you? Could we not have filed for the same bond without adding Gate City? To me the whole thing boils down to one little point that Mr. Lamkin uttered unthinkingly at a TOJ meeting. The church in Gate City has approached us many times about being add to our system because their system is inadequate for the needs of their people. ( that is not a quote it is just a short version of what was said) Where is the payback for us in all of this debt we are taking on? It is, as far as I’m concerned, simply in the garnering of more votes for public officials. There I said it! Yes, Jonesboro, that is the white elephant in the middle of the room is shouting ” What are you people thinking?” Enough said!
    Well, Mr. DA, I wouldn’t want to leave without a word of closing for you. I talked to a few of the people who tried to get you to prosecute, on their behalf, the individuals that perpetrated a crime against them. This a direct quote form YOU “I can’t because I don’t have any money or any one to investigate crimes.” If you don’t have any money or anyone to investigate what did you do with the funds allocated to your office. You said that the investigations were left up to the town or parish police departments. What is it about the TOJ and your office that make me what to say Hmmmm?

    • Anonymous Says:

      I would like to learn about the story of Ms. Nguyen along with the largest personal robbery in the history of the State of Louisiana perpetrated in Jonesboro.

      Where is the information located? Online?

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