More On Jonesboro PD Shutdown, Budgets

The move yesterday by the Town of Jonesboro’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson and three members of the board of aldermen to abolish the town’s police department was unexpected.

The public and at least some of the board had not seen the mayor’s proposed budget amendments prior to the council meeting where they were adopted, as they were distributed to the board after the meeting began.

In fact, a public hearing had just been held minutes earlier to review a proposed fiscal year 2012-2013 budget that had been introduced back on 5/17/12, and that had been published in the official journal.

District B’s Renee Stringer noted at the beginning of the meeting that she had not received her meeting packet at all, a problem that she has complained about numerous times. District A’s Sam Lamkin complained of the same problem at the 6/12/12 meeting.

The issue of significantly amending a budget with no public input is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit Essmeier v Jonesboro now on appeal at the circuit court level. Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) District Division B Judge Jimmy Teat ruled last August that in a similar situation, the mayor and board violated the state’s Local Government Budget Act.

See here the documents:

General Fund Budget 2012-2013, introduced and published
General Fund Budget 2013-2013, amended and adopted

Some of the significant expenditure differences between the introduced budget and the amended budget were:

Police: $435 thousand to $95 thousand.
Animal Control: Zero to $52 thousand.
Adminstrative & General: $528 thousand to $684 thousand.
Recreation: $43 thousand to $95 thousand.

The Administrative & General budget category (410) was as of the fiscal year 2006-2007 about $414 thousand

The salary office line-item (410.250) has nearly tripled over that same time, from $87 thousand as of 6/30/07, to $236 thousand in the just-adopted 2012-13 budget.

Also, the downtown beautification line-item (410.440) was increased in the amended/adopted budget to $50 thousand from $30 thousand in the proposed budget.

On the subject of the police department, Thompson said the department would be “reduced” rather than “eliminated,” and that the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) would fill in.

Said Thompson, “I don’t want for you to believe or to think that because there’s a reduction of police personnel, that somehow that’s going to jeopardize – cause for there to be law enforcement credibility to be at stake.”

Long-time Police Chief Wesley Horton wasn’t buying it. Horton said the move was in retaliation for his refusals to hire and fire as the mayor wanted, and his repeated attempts to interfere in police operations.

Said Horton, “He (the mayor) has no authority over me, and he cannot stand it.”

District B’s Renee Stringer asked Horton how he would manage as the lone person responsible for enforcing the town’s code of ordinances. Replied Horton, “I’ll do the best I can.”

At one point during the discussion, District A’s Sam Lamkin suggested a Rodney King “can’t we all get along” meeting between the mayor and the chief.

Asked Lamkin, “Is there any way, mayor, you and Chief Horton, can get together and work this out to where we can still have a police department?”

When time came to vote on the ordinance #709, it took quite a bit of coaching from town attorney Doug Stokes to style the motion before he was satisfied that it was done legally.

Ordinance 709 – introduced and published
Ordinance 709 – amended and adopted

Several other of the town’s budgets were amended and adopted, none of which had been published in the town’s official journal, nor had been reviewed in public hearings.

Fire Budget 2012-2013 – proposed
Fire Budget 2012-2013 – amended and adopted

Street Budget 2012-2013 proposed
Street Budget 2012-2013 amended and adopted

Water/Sewer Budget 2012-2013 proposed
Water/Sewer Budget 2012-2013 amended and adopted

71 Responses to “More On Jonesboro PD Shutdown, Budgets”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    You can post about the illegality of everything the mayor does; but, nothing will change until state officials get off their butts and do what they said they were going to do and put a fiscal administrator in place. To me, this move speaks volumes. Has the mayor made an agreement with Baton Rouge even after the legislative auditors and the Attorney General proclaimed they were moving forward on this? Should we not be calling them and writing them to ask why they haven’t stood by their own decision?

    • What a joke Says:

      Keep in mind the district attorney, Jonathan Stewart, has a case against Leslie compiled by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office. He refuses to prosecute because Leslie is a political ally, which is clearly documented on his campaign finance reports and by letters Leslie has written. This situation is as much Jonathan Stewart’s fault as it is Leslie’s. He deserves a tremendous amount of the blame.

      What’s even more ironic is you’d think the DA would want a strong police force to crack down on crime. Obviously he’s more interested in keeping his seat than keeping the people of Jonesboro safe.

  2. Renee Stringer Says:

    If you live in the Town of Jonesboro will you please help get the word out especially to the Senior Citizens that effective July 1, 2012 they need to contact the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office-318-259-9021 for law enforcement.

    I do want to say that I find it quite strange, or perhaps this is true, that the mayor alleges repeatedly that the Attorney General agrees that the Police Department should be unfunded due to the fact that there are duplicate services and his home town just did the same thing. (If) this is true, I understand now why his office hasn’t assigned a Financial Administrator. Thank you Mr. Caldwell!

    I also have to say I cannot agree with the purchase of a New Fire Truck or a New Pickup Truck for the Jonesboro Fire Department. There are good used Fire Engines for sale and used pickup trucks for sale everywhere.
    I have a sewerage lift station, No. 2 lift station for the entire Town that has been working off a rented Diesel pump for over two months, we couldn’t afford the correct pump to repair it, now we have a flexible piece of pipe running from the ground up to the make shift pump. We are more worried about a pickup truck than a pump for sewerage. When will someone come to the aid of Jonesboro?

    • Anonymous Says:

      I think even the people of jonesboro know how to dial 911

      • dispacther Says:

        yes I agree, but wouldn’t be better to call the Sheriff’s office directly instead of using the 911 line if it weren’t an emergency?

  3. wondering Says:

    – Is the mayor trying to make things unpleasant enough for the chief of police to resign, then place his own choices in?
    – Is Jonesboro going to diminish and Chatham continue to increase as people finally say ‘enough’ and more leave town?
    – When will businesses relocate because of public services, safety issues, etc., thus decreasing tax base even further?
    – Will courageous, intelligent folks (black or white) even consider running for office to return Jonesboro to a municipality that operated under public law correctly?

  4. Says:

    This is simply a powerplay by the Mayor against the Chief of Police and his department, because the Chief does not bend to the Mayor and his ridiculous whims. This is Leslie Thompson’s childish antics at work again. By the way, whatever happened to the nearly $400,000 the Mayor was unable to account for ? Did anyone ever figure out where that money went ?

  5. ThisIsMadness Says:

    I’ve idly stood by watching this madness for several months now. Jonesboro is bleeding. Each idiotic move by this clown mayor opens the wound a little more. Soon the crime rate will go up, businesses will start closing their doors (those that are still left), and folks will move to other places. The folks that will be left will be the criminals, those that have nowhere else to go, or the elderly that have lived there all their lives. Jonesboro will turn into a ghost town. The only competent person on the board is Renee Stringer. Where are the other voices to do something about this? Doesn’t anyone else care or understand what is happening? One person can’t do it all.

  6. sunrisesunset Says:

    I do not think Sheriff Andy Brown should play into ole Les’s hands by filling in when there is a need for a law enforcement officer.

    Holy Cow, doesn’t Brown have enough to do covering the parish and the prison? Why Andy, did you agree to play into this dumbo’s hands? You have agreed to keep the cemetery up by using inmates, but do you have to come to the town’s rescue when there is a criminal need? No, you do not. It is stupid for Thompson to downsize the PD. Seems like he (esteemed mayor) can get everyone to eat out of his hand.

    Maybe the answer is closing TJ down and turning everything over to the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office. They are perfectly capable to do ALL jobs the TJ does.


    • Anonymous Says:

      I don’t remember reading anywhere that the Sheriff has agreed to cover the police dept. If some of the council didn’t know about this change, what makes you think the sheriff knew?

      • sunrisesunset Says:

        I do not believe Thompson would have made such a statement as he made without talking to the Sheriff. Otherwise, it would be very presumptuous on his part.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    It is true that the Tallulah Police Department is shrinking….a tiny bit…

    Mayor Beckwith has forced the police department to cut two of its officers.

    The Tallulah Police Department will go to 11 officers with the Madison Parish Sheriff’s Department has also offered extra assistance to the Police Department.

    Kinda hard to compare Tallulah to Jonesboro in my humble opinion…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The Town of Jonesboro can forget all that big talk about becoming a city and bringing in new businesses. Who would want to move or bring a business into a town that has one of the highest paid mayors of a community this size in the state, pays all the cell phone bills for its employees, has almost a $700,000 administrative and general budget, yet cannot afford to have a police department, maintainits own cemetery upkeep, and has only one council member that votes against anything the mayor proposes? In fact, they could change all the highways to two lanes both going out of Jonesboro, because nobody is going to be coming in unless they have to for a funeral or to visit relatives. We will do good to keep what few people and businesses we have left.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    For a bunch of Republicans you sure do push BIG GOVERNMENT alot. Yes all over the country small towns are realizing the overspending that has occurred. You want government out of your life and then complain when they take it away. How many times have you driven through town to see a Sherriff’s car parked somewhere? All the time. I believe Mayor Leslie Thompson made the right decision and is stopping this double money spending that has been way out of control. Great job Mayor Thompson you have my support…do remember that at some point you may also have to take a cut in pay to even the score, but I am sure when that time comes you will make the right decision.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I think folks are just not used to the idea that there is no money for a rainey day WHILE the mayor has doubled his take, driven a town owned car with unlimited gasoline for his personal ride, hired and given cell phones to all at the town hall, paid over $100,000 to a CPA from Ruston, ….you get it…the list goes on and on and now no police BUT he has not reduced his salary or his “marketing” or travel expense….

      The math is not working for me…

    • Around Saline Lake Says:

      When pigs fly! That is when the CTIC will take a pay cut. When the voters go to the polls in 2 1/2 years in large numbers and vote him out of office – that will be the first time he takes a pay cut. If the whites in Jonesboro stay home on election day, look for the CTIC to increase his pay. He is an unqualified moron trying to do a job that is fourteen or fifteen levels above his intelligence. I do believe that he is learning the job by reading that classic book available everywhere “Mayors for Dummies.”

      • Anonymous Says:

        I think I saw some pigs flying out near the Jonesboro AKA Leslie Thompson Regional Airport

        • sunrisesunset Says:

          I heard it was the Leslie Thompson International Airport. That’s more impressive, you know.

        • Around Saline Lake Says:

          HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Where are the drones when we need them? Anyone with any sense would have seen his pay raise proposal for what it was – a money grab. Even our congress can’t vote themselves a raise at the beginning of their term. Their raises go into effect after their next election. That should have happened with the CTIC. Why didn’t it?

          • sunrisesunset Says:

            Around Saline Lake, I am a little perplexed. You are a democrat, Les is a democrat. You are a progressive liberal democrat, Les is a progressive liberal democrat. So, why are you ranting about Leslie? After all, he wants to move the TJ forward. Isn’t this what progressive liberals want?

            Please explain to the bloggers.

    • AAA Says:

      Another person on Crack! Damn!

  10. Anonymous Says:

    the town of jonesboro is now a big sink hole, if you can get out before its too late

    • unbelievable Says:

      Exactly…as noted by the Sheriff on the news, you know a town is dying when you remove emergency services. Abandon ship while you still can and you can sell your house for more than a dollar.

  11. sGT Says:

    This needs to show everyone in Jonesboro to kick those freaking asshole idiots out off the Counsel and GET A NEW MAYOR and run those SOB’s outta town.

  12. whats up!! Says:

    no police, then NO MAYOR,NO MAYOR if you hear me give me a HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE MAYOR

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Thank the Lord for the Fiscal Administrator that the Legislative Coucil put in to place! What a Joke, The whole Legislative Board down in Baton Rouge should now relize that they are a laughing stock! Apparently they have no authority what so ever to accomplish anything. Great job guys, you really fixed the problem in Jonesboro!

  14. JustMe Says:

    ..I quote … Said Thompson, “I don’t want for you to believe or to think that because there’s a reduction of police personnel, that somehow that’s going to jeopardize – cause for there to be law enforcement credibility to be at stake.”
    What in the heck did he say?? Uh, uh, uh. I mean really – he can’t even make a sentence!!

    • Around Saline Lake Says:

      What did he mean in that stumbline, bumbling statement? You’ll have to axe him.

      • sunrisesunset Says:

        He meant absolutely “nothing” because that’s what he said…..absolutely nothing. Just more ramblings from the rambler. Nothing he says makes any sense.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    This is all really, really sad. I grew up in Jonesboro and was kind of wanting to move home when we retire because all of our family is there. Not so sure anymore. I can’t understand why a “mayor” would want to stunt the town’s growth. Silly me…..I always thought the mayor’s job was to make the town grow and prosper.

    • Anonymous Says:

      It has nothing to do with the “town” prospering, as long as he does.

    • sunrisesunset Says:

      You can still come back home if you are willing to relocate outside the city limits…..say toward Quitman or Weston. They are both growing areas made possible by the esteemed mayor.

  16. amused Says:

    I find it really amusing that all of you folks want to get the mayor recalled, change council members, etc. Where were you when he got elected? You get what you get when you sit at home and don’t go out and vote. And the same thing is going to happen in Washinton D.C. if we just sit around and twiddle our thumbs. This is OUR COUNTRY, and we need to start standing up for it and our rights!!! I am sure my ancesters who came from overseas are rolling in their graves at how things are “Potically Incorrect” these days and weren’t in their day!!!

    • Debbie Says:

      so, how long are you going to beat that drum? They didn’t vote, they exercised their rights as American Citizens to not vote. Move on, there is another election coming up. run again.

  17. soyloco318 Says:

    Here’s my train of thought: as of this weekend there will no longer be an “active police force”. The only true “employee” of the Town will be Chief Horton. That means the Mayor is no longer a commissioned officer. Which means he can no longer have his emergency lights in his car. Let’s see if he abides with this, because I believe he would qualify for a citation for violating R.S. 32:318.

    • Barney Says:

      He would have to be de commissioned by the Police Chief……see if that happens first.

      • WOW Says:

        Everyone in the state of Louisiana knows about his lights and sirens, including the State Police, so big deal… one has the guts to do a thing about it, he is a po po, got the badge to prove it, and a big bad fireman…………so get over it, he is and will continue to do what when and however he wants and nobody gona do a thing about it. just keep on smilin ,-)

        • Around Saline Lake Says:

          Citizens of Jonesboro! At the next election get out in great numbers and vote the CTIC out of office and get a mayor who will do what is right for Jonesboro (perhaps Renee Stringer).

  18. Neat trick... Says:

    Police: $435 thousand to $95 thousand = +$340
    Animal Control: Zero to $52 thousand = -$52
    Adminstrative & General: $528 thousand to $684 thousand = -$156
    Recreation: $43 thousand to $95 thousand = -$52

    This makes sense he (mayor) has less to manage so he needs more Admin money.

    That still leaves +$80 thousand in the budget taken from the police.

    I bet the population will explode in Jonesboro next month! Criminal population that is.

  19. Freddie Brown Says:

    I’m a little confused – Renee filed a suit against Chief Horton and the JPD. At that time Leslie supported the JPD and said we had one of the best Police Depts. in La.
    Renee then got on the stand in Baton Rouge and stated, “they are all crooks in Jackson Parish’, ( I assume she was talking about Wesley, Andy, Leslie and the Police Jury with her ALL word ). Now Leslie has abolished our PD and Renee is saying how wrong it is to do our PD that way and how great they are.. She is sucking up to Andy and Leslie is telling lies about a joint venture between JSO and the T of J.
    I think it might just be that Renee and Leslie are TWO of A Kind. As a matter of fact I know they are.
    Now is the time for you good citizens to write and tell me how sorry a person I am, but I say go ahead if it makes you feel better,cause you know the above facts are 100% correct

    • North Hodge Says:

      you somehow seem to forget the turmoil and pain you alone caused the Village of North Hodge. How can you accuse anyone of wrong when you had to slink out of our town with you head hung. You tried to destroy a Godly man, you wanted his job and you were determined to try to get it any way you could, but the God our Grandfather served was bigger than you, although you think your loud foul mouth intimidates everyone, it doesn’t. Pawpaw may be in Heaven now, but we haven’t forgotten. We will keep reminding you ever time you try to throw off on someone else, your legacy, it aint the best either.

    • Mean Folks Stink! Says:

      You, Freddie Brown, need to be ashamed of yourself.

      Renee is a good enough woman to find it in her heart to forgive you.

      It is easy to see that Renee has helped Jonesboro WAY MORE than you have ever done and you just need to keep your nastyness to yourself.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    Someone somewhere might listen to your cry baby antics if what you had to say was truthful. So, go slink back in your hole as I don’t see an election coming really soon. And, honestly, if the choice were you or Leslie, I would vote Leslie all day long.

  21. 4th quarter Says:

    Looks like we’re laying the ground work for another run at the throne. The enemy is LESLIE THOMPSON.

  22. cansee Says:

    Freddie is right! if some of you cant see the truth well thats your problem. Ms. Stringer has flip floped the whole time she has been in office. Thanks Freddie for reminding us of the truth.

    • North Hodge Says:

      What is a flope? Is that what happened when he tried to destroy North Hodge, it floped? Yes thank you for reminding us, we all need to be reminded of the great big flope.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Freddie….were you been?

      Let’s come together and play good with each other.

      Think back to Kindergarten and take the approach that as young ones we had……as we age, we become cynical and jaded….need to go back to Kindergarten!

    • AAA Says:

      Ok everyone, as we can see , there are alot of Crack people out there, right “cansee”. Just go smoke another and shut your pie hole!

  23. Messy Says:

    Just what all you messy folks do….just bicker amongst yourselves and that will keep our Mayor in charge.

    Come together right now….if you really want change.

    If you just want to fuss, keep on doing the same thing.

    Did not see you at the last meeting? Were you just at home sipping your sweet tea and watching TV?

    Come on down to the next meeting…..your seat is waiting!

    • messy 1 & 2 kindergardeners Says:

      messy, you cracking it up again? nobody fussing here but one, and he is talking to himself, just like you, hey theres a idea. you too should hook up and become the messy 1 and messy 2.

      • AAA Says:

        That’s all “Messy” ever does, “Crack It Up”, isn’t that right “all is good in Jonesboro Messy”, yeah Right!!!

  24. Jonesboro At Its Worst Says:

    The Town Of Jonesboro! What an embarrassment the mayor, Leslie Thompson, is to the wonderful small town that I grew up in.

    First and foremost, I understand the people of Jonesboro elected Leslie, however, the people of Jonesboro can also fire Leslie!!

    Secondly, the District Attorney, Jonathan Stewart was also elected by the people and the people can fire him too! If I lived in Jonesboro, I would gather all the people that do not agree with the actions that Leslie continues to do on a daily basis and head to Jonathan’s office and pickett for Mr. “D.A” (dumb a$$) to bring charges against Leslie for all the criminal things he has done and continues to do. JUSTICE?? However, all of you that voted for Leslie and Jonathan are probably not aware that Jonathan gave money to Leslie Thompson, on a regular basis, to secure the black vote in the city of Jonesboro! Therefore, Jonathan Stewart will never bring charges against a man that can bring him down, too!

    Louisiana politics at its best!! The citizens of this great state want to complain about all the crookedness the politicians have done through the years, however, in my honest opinion, this is by far the worst situation I have ever seen!

    If the citizens of Jonesboro got lucky, Don Essmeier would run for mayor again and put the town back where it belongs!!! AND, NOT IN DEBT, NOT AN EMBARRASSMENT, AND BACK TO THE WONDERFUL small town that it has been since the beginning of Jonesboro.

    Last but not least, PEOPLE of the great town of JONESBORO, get out and stand up for what you believe in! Leslie Thompson is a complete disgrace to the town of Jonesboro, to the great state of Louisiana and to any and all politicians that are elected to “serve” the people!! Leslie Thompson does not serve anyone but his pocketbook and if the citizens continue to allow this to happen, there will be no more Jonesboro… the small quaint and beautiful little town that flourished when I was growing up there.

    It is my prayer that God will bless Jonesboro in the coming days and always! Please pray for Jonesboro!

    • What a joke Says:

      This person is absolutely correct about Jonathan Stewart. Ask anyone in the areas where Leslie campaigned for Jonathan and they will tell you. Leslie sent letters to people in support for Jonathan. He also told people that if Darrell Avery was elected, he would go to jail. That’s pretty strong evidence that Jonathan and Leslie made a deal.

      Stronger evidence still is the fact that Jonathan Stewart paid Leslie $6,000 in “canvassing.” The second highest “canvassing” fee was for $1,000. Most were in the range of $150. The only expense that was higher than Leslie’s “canvassing” fee was the bill Jonathan paid to his professional campaign strategist.

      Blatant corruption sprawled out across the pages of Louisiana campaign finance reports.

      • Anonymous Says:

        If you can prove this, then call the IRS….see if Leslie reported this earnings on his return….but remember, the IRS wants proof …..not hearsay….I called but have no proof

    • What a joke Says:

      Of course, this person may should be careful about who they want to run for mayor. Mr. Essmeier passed away.

  25. whats up!! Says:

    ok im down with it so who wants to pickett the court house if yall beleave in what yall are saying lets do this im ready are you?

  26. Jonesboro At Its Worst Says:

    Mr. Essmeier has not passed away unless it was this morning! He is very alive and has what it takes to put Jonesboro back in an honorable state as well as in the black… exactly like it was when he left office.

    • What a joke Says:

      I was thinking of Ira Reeves. I’m sorry. Misspoke. I’m glad that Mr. Essmeier continues to be with us! 🙂

  27. Hope Says:

    ATTENTION,ATTENTION, The paperwork for appointment of the finacial administrator has been filed at the clerk of court. The hearing is scheduled for later next week. Pray Pray

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Guess leslie is going to be needing more money for legal fees since the AG has filed suit against TOJ!!! LOL I would think The CTIC is sweating bullets right now! LOL

    • I'm Crazy...Crazy for feeling so lonely.... Says:

      Crazy folks believe themselves….he ain’t sweating….Rev Dill may need a new job…and how about those three council members who have voted their way right down the road with the mayor….maybe they should resign and move away….far far away.

      Leslie, your mentioned at one rally your daughter wants you to move to Texas ….please get a bus ticket and head out.

  29. Jonesboro At Its Worst Says:

    I cannot believe Leslie Thompson has the largest “canvassing” amount on the campaign finance report for Jonathan Stewart! Are you kidding me… the writing is on the wall… and, for how long??? It is time to bring charges against LT & JS. If the DA will not bring charges against LT, I suppose it should go to the next level until you find an HONEST politician!!! And, when you do… charges should be brought against JS, too!!

    REMEMBER folks… the PEOPLE are the ones that hire and fire!! It is time for the people of Jonesboro to step up to the plate and light up Jonesboro, once & for all!! July 4th FIREWORKS could not be soon enough!!

  30. Anonymous Says:

    To those who have left and are leaving Jonesboro, this may solve problems for them and their families, but it certainly will not help get someone else elected mayor and councilman at large. What we need in Jonesboro are people who will stay here, fight for what is right, and most important of all, VOTE!!!

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