Archive for August, 2012

Jonesboro Fiscal Administrator Advertising to Hire Accountant


In the Thursday, August 30, 2012 edition of The Jackson Independent, official journal for the Town of Jonesboro:


Town Accountant – Jonesboro, Louisiana

The Accountant will report to the Town Clerk and be responsible for recording, processing, and entering the financial activity in the general ledger. The Accountant will also be responsible for all aspects of the payroll process. The Accountant will generate various monthly and annual reports as well as other documents for the Clerk and will assist the Clerk as needed.

Minimum Qualifications: Degree in Accounting or Finance, however years of experience as an Accountant will substitute for education. Candidates should be proficient in the use of computers with knowledge of Quickbooks and other software products.

Offer of employment is contingent upon a satisfactory pre-employment background check. The Town of Jonesboro is an equal opportunity/equal access employer. Compensation is negotiable.

Application deadline is September 2nd, 2012 or until suitable candidate is selected.

Send resume to:

William J. Ryder, Fiscal Administrator
P.O. Box 655
Pollock, LA 71467


Armstrong Eligible to Take Monroe City Council District One Office Immediately


Ray Armstrong, District 1 Monroe City Councilman-elect, is eligible to take office immediately, Louisiana Secretary of State Director of Elections Angie Bouy told Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) this morning.

Armstrong was unopposed for the seat when qualifying ended two weeks ago. He will take the place of Jay Marx, who is also the chairman of the council.

Armstrong, who was unsuccessful in a run for mayor of Monroe last April, can be sworn as soon as he is commissioned by the Secretary of State due to a provision in the state law that says the SOS “shall promptly certify the name of any candidate elected at the postponed election… following the close of qualifying… if the candidate is declared elected without opposition.”

Originally, the council elections were to be held in March and April along with the mayor’s race, but delays in getting new district lines approved by the U. S. Department of Justice caused the council elections to be moved to November 6 for the primary, and December 8 for the general election.

See here the law:

LA RS 18:513 – Certification of candidates elected

C. Certification of candidates elected to a reduced term due to a postponed election. (1) When a reapportionment or redistricting plan fails to receive preclearance pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the deadline set forth in R.S. 18:1941 or R.S. 18:1942 and there is a postponement of the election, the secretary of state shall promptly certify the name of any candidate elected at the postponed election to the appropriate official named in Subsection A of this Section, when the secretary of state can immediately determine which office and term of office to which such newly elected official has been elected as follows:

(a) Following the close of qualifying and prior to the primary election if the candidate is declared elected without opposition.

Higher Ed Roundup – 8/31/12


Endowment means a lot to LSU

LSU Fall Break canceled, Saturday class to be scheduled

Meanwhile, in DeSoto Parish


DeSoto District 8 firefighter arrested

MANSFIELD – A DeSoto Fire District No. 8 firefighter is accused of using public funds to make personal purchases at Walmart, Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs said.

Lt. Billy Locke booked Johnathon Robinson, 28, of the 500 block of Ranchette in Stonewall, into DeSoto Detention Center today on one count each of unauthorized use of an access card and malfeasance in office.

Robinson is accused of charging assorted items totaling $139.99 to the fire district’s Walmart credit card. Purchases included flashlights, a 24-bottle pack of water, heat shrink, a 399-piece electrical kit and a 400-amp jump starter, Hobbs said.

Lincoln Parish Schools Closed Thursday


From a Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce email:

Lincoln Parish public schools, Cedar Creek School and Bethel Christian School will be closed Thursday in anticipation of heavy rains and high winds from Hurricane Isaac. School officials made their decisions just moments ago based on the new path of Isaac through North Louisiana. Officials said they’ll monitor the storm and make a decision about Friday classes tomorrow.

Though Isaac is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm be the time it reaches Lincoln Parish late this evening or early Thursday, it could still be packing a punch, Kip Franklin, Lincoln Parish Homeland Security director, said this morning. Latest estimates are Isaac could dump as much as 6 inches of rain and pack sustained winds of up to 40 miles per hour. Franklin said residents could expect downed trees, possible power outages, road closures, and some local flooding if the storm continues as anticipated.

“We will be on the east side of the storm,” Franklin said. The east side of a hurricane generally gets the brunt of the storm’s fury.

Parish School Superintendent Danny Bell said the decision to close parish schools was made with the safety of 6,500-plus students and school employees in mind.

“It is always better to err on the side of safety for our children and our employees, even if this rain and wind event doesn’t measure up to what they predict,” Bell said this afternoon. “As to school on Friday, no decision will be made until tomorrow afternoon. However, if conditions improve or are predicted to improve, we will have school on Friday.”

Political Corruption Elsewhere in Louisiana


Grace sentenced to 22 years

Former St. Gabriel Mayor George L. Grace Sr. was sentenced Monday to 22 years in federal prison for his March 3 conviction on seven charges that included racketeering, bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud.

“It is believed to be the longest public corruption prison sentence in the history of Louisiana,” U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said in a statement after the hearing. “This historic sentence should send a loud and clear message that those engaged in public corruption will face severe punishment.”

Visiting U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr., of Shreveport, described Grace, 68, as the leader of a group of municipal officials in Port Allen, White Castle and New Roads. Those officials and Grace used their public offices for personal gain, the judge said during the hearing.

During a trial of more than six weeks, the 17-year mayor was portrayed by prosecutors and government witnesses as a public official who demanded bribes and kickbacks from people who sought his help to establish businesses in St. Gabriel.

Grace was prosecuted as a result of an FBI sting known as Operation Blighted Officials. The sting featured a fantasy company, Cifer 5000, that was promoted as a garbage-can cleaning service seeking municipal contracts in Louisiana.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson said Grace’s investigation reflected “a lifetime of corruption, not just a couple of years or a couple of transactions.”

Amundson added that many St. Gabriel residents either work for the municipality or have relatives who are municipal employees.

Others convicted in Operation Blighted Officials include former New Roads Mayor T.A. “Tommy” Nelson Jr., serving an 11-year prison term; former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown, serving 10 years; and former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis, serving a 40-month prison term.

Former Port Allen Police Chief Frederick W. Smith was sent to prison for more than seven years. Former Port Allen Councilman Johnny Johnson was sent to a halfway house for six months and ordered to serve two years of probation.

Richard Chambers, former deputy commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Insurance, pleaded guilty last month to a charge that he used a telephone in aid of racketeering. Chambers is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Higher Ed Roundup – 8/27/12


Analysis: LSU plagued with morale, funding worries

How Political Connections Work


It’s something to see when the Morning Paper’s John Hays connects for a home run, as he did in Friday’s Rumor Mill column.

Hays held forth on the State Senator Rick Gallot Charter School (often called the New Living Word Ministries School), and its ability to elicit favorable consideration from the City of Ruston’s formidable zoning, permits, and inspections machine.

Wrote Hays:

Lobbying never fails, especially when Louisiana’s con­troversial school voucher program is the issue. After the state fire marshal fell in line, so too did the city of Rus­ton, approving a jury-rigged private school after a quickie inspection.

Inspections were scheduled for Monday morning. But with 167 state vouchers at $6,300 each, New Living Word wasn’t willing to wait–just as it not been willing to apply for a zoning permit or a building permit or to hire a licensed contractor.

Later Friday afternoon, city officials agreed to rush up the already fast-tracked inspections, clearing the way to start classes Monday morning. All deficiencies noted in an inspection earlier in the week had been remedied, city building official Bill Sanderson says. Among them: parti­tions made of flammable materials and multiple electrical cords lying on the floor between wall outlets and com­puter equipment.

Neither Sanderson nor fire marshal Butch Browning has yet to explain why they didn’t pull the plug after New Living Word started construction without the required building permit and without a licensed contractor. Under Ruston 21 master plan, New Living Word was also re­quired to obtain a zoning variance to operate a school on property presently zoned for a church.

What Sanderson cannot change to anyone’s satisfaction is the fact that Baldwin renovated two buildings with­out the benefit of a land use variance or a building permit, without a complete set of plans by a licensed architect or engineer, and without the use of a licensed general con­tractor and licensed trade con­tractors.

Contrast this treatment of a politically-connected entity to that of a business that dared to ask that it be allowed to put up a sign slightly larger than the rules allowed. Remember this report from last month?

A Sign of the Times in Ruston

Maybe Brandon Crume needed a state senator on his payroll, instead of facts and logic in his argument.

Higher Ed Roundup – 8/25/12


Southern University chief in hot seat with faculty

JPD Suit Update


On behalf of the seven plaintiffs, Jonesboro attorney Bobby Culpepper alleges:

That plaintiffs herein were never terminated by a recommendation of the Mayor, approved by the Board of Aldermen, in violation of Louisiana law. See Opinion of the Attorney General May 10, 1974.

That the TOWN OF JONESBORO has failed to fund the police department which action affects the police department in violation of law. See Opinion of the Attorney General No. 05-0424.

That the TOWN OF JONESBORO did not pay its portion into the unemployment fund of the State of Louisiana on behalf of plaintiffs, which is in violation of Louisiana law.

That plaintiffs have been wrongfully terminated and plaintiffs’ compensation has been wrongfully terminated.

That the TOWN OF JONESBORO has illegally allowed plaintiffs’ insurance to lapse without even being notified of Cobra insurance, in violation of both state and federal law.

Culpepper ask for the following relief:

…an amount sufficient to compensate plaintiffs for wrongful cancellation of insurance, damages for failure to pay into the unemployment fund, damages for wrongful termination, reimbursement for court appearances, attorney’s fees and all other damages allowed by Louisiana law, together with legal interest from date of judicial demand until paid and all costs of these proceedings.

See here the document.