Archive for July, 2013

Ezernack’s Stamp Pad Runs Dry

07/23/2013

An effort by controversial Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo’s one reliable rubber stamp left on the Monroe City Council – District Two’s Gretchen Ezernack – to nominate herself to the secretive Interstate 20 Economic Development District Board of Directors went for naught at tonight’s meeting of the council when none of her colleagues would second her motion.

Even though the agenda item was no longer on the table, Council Chair Eddie Clark (District Five) allowed a gaggle of suits from the Monroe Chamber of Commerce to opine on Ezernack’s qualifications. The group left the meeting after speaking.

District One’s Ray Armstrong noted that since he’s been on the council, Ezernack had “not demonstrated any independent thinking,” and would not be a good choice for the I-20 board.

We will have additional reporting on tonight’s meeting later.

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Armstrong Responds to Council Agenda Issue

07/23/2013

From Ray Armstrong’s (District One, Monroe City Council) Facebook page:

Fox 14 News tonight posted an email I sent to our council clerk regarding City Council control of the agenda as if there were something wrong with that. The agenda is the responsibility of the Council. We vote on agenda items. That’s how we do the work of the city. Things would show up on the agenda and Council had no idea who put them there. Council has only a short time to read and understand the agenda items before we vote on them. The Council needs to know what we are voting on. It’s not going to be “let’s pass this so we can see what it says”. Media consistently gets it wrong and they did it again tonight.

See here the KTVE/KARD news story.

Homer, LA Update – 7/18/13

07/22/2013

Homer, LA Guardian-Journal – 7/18/13

Homer’s Town Clerk resigns

Claiborne Police jury asks questions about request to increase DA funding

Monroe City Council Public Meeting – 7/18/13

07/22/2013

Unedited videos of Monroe City Council Public Meeting – July 18, 2013

Eddie Clark – Pt 1
Eddie Clark – Pt 2
Betty Blakes
Kenneth Wilson
Ray Armstrong

LPNO Obtains Thompson Letter, Walker Resume

07/19/2013

A 6/28/13 letter from Jonesboro’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson written to Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA) Daryl Purpera has been obtained this morning by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO). In the letter, Thompson endorsed the appointment of J. Walker & Company as the town’s Fiscal Administrator to replace William Ryder who resigned last fall.

Wrote Thompson:

I recently received a call from Mr. Jonald Walker who informed me that he was being considered to replace Bill Ryder as Fiscal Administrator of Jonesboro. I think this is an excellent choice in light of the fact that he is very familiar with the internal operations of the town.

Thompson ends the letter by expressing hope that the appointment of Walker would result in the town being removed from the LLA’s non-compliance list, and would make the town again eligible for state and federal grants.

Again our request is to be removed from the non-compliance list so that the residents of the town can realize the benefit of the projects that this administration has worked to qualify for. We trust the confidence that you place in the newly elected administrator will carry over and that the town will be removed from the list and that we are able to move forward for the good of the people.

See here the letter.

Notable is the date of the letter – June 28, 2013 – which would seem to indicate that Walker’s appointment has been in the works for some time. Walker withdrew from consideration yesterday after news broke of the impending appointment, and what Purpera described as “negative press” coverage of the proposed appointment.

Also, we have obtained a copy of Walker’s professional resume and that of the individuals who would have assisted him had the appointment gone through.

See here the documents.

Walker’s proposed pay rate was $125/hr., with accountants to be paid $65/hr, and clerical set at $35/hr.

7/18/13 LAAC Video Archive

07/18/2013

Today’s Legislative Audit Advisory Committee (LAAC) meeting video archive.

LAAC – 7/18/13

Walker Withdraws From Jonesboro Fiscal Administrator Assignment

07/18/2013

Citing “negative press,” Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera announced moments ago that Jonald Walker had withdrawn his name from consideration as the Town of Jonesboro’s Fiscal Administrator. Purpera made the announcement at a meeting of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council (LAAC) in Baton Rouge.

Walker’s name had been submitted in a proposed motion forwarded to Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson Parishes) Division B Judge Jimmy Teat two days ago.

However, attached to the motion was a letter from the town’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson approving of the appointment.

Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) had obtained a copy of the motion, and is still trying to obtain a copy of Thompson’s endorsement letter.

Purpera said that the perception that the Legislative Auditor and the town had colluded to appoint Walker to job, and that he would not be independent from Thompson, prompted his decision to withdraw. Walker also cited risk to his professional reputation, Purpera said.

Purpera answered several questions from the committee members about the town’s beleaguered financial history. Purpera also said they would begin anew the search for someone else for the administrator’s job.

Ezernack Puts Herself Up for Monroe’s I-20 Board

07/18/2013

Controversial Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo’s one reliable rubber stamp remaining on the Monroe City Council – District Two’s Gretchen Ezernack – has nominated herself to be placed on the secretive Interstate 20 Economic Development District Board of Directors at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

(b) Adopt Resolution authorizing the appointment of Gretchen Ezernack as the Monroe City Council representative to the I-20 Board of Directors and further providing with respect thereto. (Ezernack)

See here the agenda.

The meeting is set for Tuesday, July 23, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway.

Claiborne Parish Update on DA Stewart

07/18/2013

Jackie Roberts, Editor – The Haynesville News
DA asks Police Jury for additional $50K in funding for fiscal year 2013

Second Judicial District Attorney Jonathan M. Stewart’s request for the Claiborne Parish Police Jury (CPPJ) to allocate an additional $50,000 in funding for the year ending December 31, 2013 was tabled during the July 10th Police Jury meeting.

The CPPJ received a letter from Stewart on June 24th requesting additional La. RS 16:6 funding along with a Budget Message; spread sheets for the General Fund; Title IVD Special Revenue Fund and Worthless Check Special Revenue Fund reflecting the 2012 Budget, 2012 Actual Revenues and Expenditures and the Proposed 2013 Budget.

Stewart’s letter stated “he intends to operate the DA’s office with no significant changes in personnel but will have increased expenditures in certain important categories and decreasing revenues from Fines and Forfeitures and the Criminal Court Fund, which are beyond his control.”

Stewart cited not receiving any funds from the Criminal Court Fund the last two months of 2011 and 2012; and the decline of revenues from traffic tickets and the number of hours worked by the Bienville and Claiborne Parish sheriff’s deputies in the LACE program as part of the budget problem. He added that revenues from Fines and Forfeitures from Jackson Parish continued to be negligible.

According to Stewart salaries are the biggest portion of his expenses. The letter said none of the ADAs have received a salary increase since Stewart took office January 12, 2009 and that some of the ADAs have never received a raise and have worked for 10 years or more. “In order to keep competent staff the DA must give raises to ADAs this year. In addition to salaries, health insurance and other insurance has increased every year,” Stewart wrote.

According to sources Stewart has requested an additional $38,000 from Bienville Parish and $50,000 from Jackson Parish.

The CPPJ response letter to Stewart’s request informed the DA that the following list of financial information and other information from his office is needed for review prior to consideration of the $50,000 increase in additional funding:

  • A list of all employees by parish with job classification and pay level for the years 2008 to present
  • A list of all vehicles owned/leased and the assigned drivers
  • Equipment purchased during the current fiscal year
  • Anticipated equipment purchased for the next fiscal year
  • A list of recurring contracted services
  • Breakdown of fringe benefits provided to employees-health, life, dental and other plans that have the employer’s participation
  • List of employees using credit cards issued under the DA’s office
  • Final line item budgets for 2009-2013
  • Consolidated budgets from 2002-2008
  • What role Kenneth Golden & Company play in the financial management of the DA’s office

The CPPJ informed Stewart that once all of the above information was received his budget request would be considered.

Jackson Parish Police Jury asked Stewart for the same items the CPPJ is requiring approximately 16 months ago and reportedly he has not provided any of the items.

Juror Lavelle Penix made a motion, seconded by Juror Mark Furlow to table the item until Stewart submits the financial information requested above. The item will not be brought back before the Jury until all of the above items are received by the CPPJ. The motion was unanimously approved.

Town “Approval” of Fiscal Administrator Appointment Cited in Proposed Motion

07/18/2013

As we had reported late yesterday, the Town of Jonesboro gave it’s “approval” to appointment of J. Walker & Co. to be the town’s new “Fiscal Administrator.”

From the proposed order signed by the Assistant Louisiana Attorney General Michael Vallan:

The Town has indicated its approval of J. Walker & Company, APC being appointed has the Independent Fiscal Administrator for the Town as shown by correspondence dated June 28, 2013 attached as Exhibit “C.”

See here the document.

As soon as we get a copy of the 6/28/13 correspondence, it will be posted here at Lincoln Parish News Online.