Archive for September, 2013

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

09/30/2013

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, October 1, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here is the agenda.

Among the reports to be heard:

Personnel

Finance – 8/31/13 fund balance (compare to 7/31/13 and 8/31/2012)

Also, there will be discussion of a one-time payment to teachers and support personnel.

See here the memo.

Friday’s Detention Center Commission Meeting

09/30/2013

We were out of town last Friday, and were unable to cover an afternoon meeting of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission. However, one of our ace correspondents sent us this report, for which we are sincerely grateful.

It was smiles all around the table at the end of the Friday afternoon meeting of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission. Warden Jim Tuten presented a fairly detailed and overall positive report on progress made since July 1 when management of the DC was transferred from LaSalle to Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone on behalf of the Commission. Tuten reported that progress was being made on repairs to the air conditioning system: replacement parts to upgrade the controls on the system were ordered and due on-site soon. The front gate is completely operational for the first time in years, and only awaits completion of the upgrade to the facility’s central control room and installation of the exit control stand (which allows exiting vehicle drivers to open the gate) to be fully automatic. Installation of the fence on the back side of the property means the perimeter is fully fenced for the first time since it was built. Other repairs and replacements, as to kitchen equipment and door locks and protective systems, are either complete or well on their way to completion.

Application has been made or is planned to be made soon, to increase the allowable inmate population from 200 beds to around 240 to 245; beds are in place now for the 200 currently permitted by applicable regulations.

Plans are also in place to have employees attend the police academy. Employees attend an abbreviated course, which does not include defensive driving training which is required for patrol officers but not for corrections officers and personnel. Completion of training results in certification which entitles employees to added state supplemental pay.

Some personnel changes were discussed: there is new leadership in the kitchen, and the Warden reports the food is “much improved” and that the facility is now able to provide higher-quality meals at a cost of less than $2.50 per inmate per day. More than 80 security cameras have been installed and are operational, with more to follow. These have already proven their value, in that they provided incontrovertible evidence that some claims being made by an inmate against the facility were groundless.

A brief discussion of the special requirements and costs associated with keeping juvenile inmates included information that some preliminary, long-range plans for a possible juvenile facility as well as increased capacity for female inmates are being formulated. “The problem,” opined Tuten, “is, of course, where to get the money to build these facilities.” Having a facility for these could greatly reduce the cash costs of having these inmates housed elsewhere, and could even generate some cash if inmates from surrounding areas could be housed in any extra available space. “Juveniles must by law be separated from adult inmates by sight, sound, and contact, which almost mandates a separate facility.” Tuten stated. The need to house females separate from males often results in tying up several beds’ capacity for one female inmate. Because of this, currently all female inmates are housed in the Claiborne parish facility.

Overall, most of the smiles were generated when Tuten reported that, with housing of Department of Corrections inmates, reductions in overtime worked by employees and improved management of the DC’s commissary, work release and other programs, the facility has generated an income of almost $250,000 since the change of control on July 1st. While expenditures for repairs and improvements are expected to be on the order of $1.17 million when completed, the Commission members, all of whom were present, agreed the improved cash position of the facility is certainly good news, and Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) President Skip Russell was first to offer praise and congratulations to Tuten and Stone for the results they have achieve so far: “The people of Lincoln Parish certainly owe you a debt of gratitude for all your hard work and success.” This was seconded by DA Bob Levy and other Commission members.

Tuten requested that the Commission authorize advertisement for bids to (1) upgrade three sides of the existing (old) perimeter fence, once side of which does not belong to the facility but to an adjacent property owner; and (2) construct a fence inside the perimeter fence, to serve as an emergency evacuation area in case inmates need to be evacuated for fire, this being required by regulatory agencies. The Commission approved both requests unanimously.

Port Allen, LA Update – 9/29/13

09/30/2013

Mayor salary issue still confounding Port Allen officials

By Terry L. Jones
tjones@theadvocate.com

PORT ALLEN — How much Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter should be earning as Port Allen’s mayor remains unclear two months after a state district judge ordered the city council to amend the 2012-13 fiscal year budget to reflect the $84,960 annual salary for the city’s top position.

The council amended that budget on Sept. 11, but Slaughter vetoed the amendment on Sept. 19, and the matter will come up for a potential veto override on Oct. 9.

Meanwhile, attorneys on both sides in a lawsuit three city councilmen had filed against Slaughter over her salary have varying opinions about both the salary issue and the judge’s order.

Judge Alvin Batiste ruled the council improperly lowered the mayor’s salary to $65,000. He basically said the council can either amend the budget to reflect the higher salary or Slaughter can seek another order from the court requiring the council to make that amendment.

But, Bastiste also granted a preliminary injunction to temporarily stop Slaughter from drawing the higher salary until the council amends the budget.

Despite the injunction, the city’s chief financial officer, Audrey McCain, confirmed via email Thursday that Slaughter’s salary has been paid at the rate of $84,960 a year since she took office on Jan. 1 — payments attorney J. Arthur Smith said are illegal.

Monroe City Council – 9/24/13 Meeting

09/28/2013

With all the Jonesboro developments this week, we’re a bit late reporting what we saw at the 9/24/13 meeting of the Monroe City Council. Hopefully, we have a couple of items from the meeting not reported elsewhere.

On a 3-2 vote, the council approved a controversial “smokefree air” ordinance that will prohibit smoking in bars and casinos.

Voting for the measure were Ray Armstrong (District 1), Gretchen Ezernack (District 2), and Kenny Wilson (District 4).

Voting no were Betty Blakes (District 3), and Eddie Clark (District 5).

See here the ordinance.

Much of the meeting was taken up with comment and debate on the issue.

Speaking for the ordinance, was Jennifer Haneline, Region Manager for The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living.

Several other medical professionals and individuals spoke for passage.

Club Pink’s co-owner Tommy Stewart, opposing the ordinance, noted that his employees know before they apply for a job that the facility allows smoking.

Bartender Jordan Williams said, “I think it is going to hurt business.”

Doyle Jeter, owner of Enoch’s Irish Pub & Cafe, said that the ban was coming sooner or later, and that businesses will just have to deal with it.

Jeter did not agree with the provisions of the ordinance that prohibited smoking within 15 feet of a building.

Before final passage the ordinance was amended to change section 30.5-7C to add “unless the patio or outdoor serving area is located at a bar, and an employee is stationary at that location.”

According to news reports today, the ordinance might be revisited at the next council meeting to make the distance five feet instead of the 15 as was passed Tuesday.

Another issue the council dealt with was the appropriation of $150 thousand in additional funds to the council budget.

Armstrong gave to the other members a list that showed the proposed expenditure allocation of the monies.

See here the memo.

It passed 4-1, with Ezernack the lone no vote.

After the meeting, it was reported that City Attorney Nanci Summersgill erred in styling the proposal as a resolution, instead of an ordinance.

It will have to be re-voted at the next meeting, she said.

Second Circuit Decision on FA

09/26/2013

Before Drew, Lolley, and Garrett, JJ.

On the showing made, exercise of our supervisory jurisdiction is not warranted. Review of the application reveals that the substitute independent fiscal administrator was made in compliance with LA RS 39:1351.

See here the document.

Defense Appeal to Remove FA Folden Fails

09/26/2013

A motion filed late last week by the defense team for former Jonesboro mayor Leslie Thompson opposing the appointment of Kenneth Folden as the town’s Fiscal Administrator has been denied by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, sources have told Lincoln Parish News Online.

Also, Monroe City Court Judge Tammy Lee has “lawyered up,” in response to the controversy regarding her trip to Jonesboro last week where she administered an oath of office to Thompson’s wife Yoshi.

The attorney, George Britton, has released a statement about the issue.

KNOE-TV8 News has the story.

Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission Friday

09/26/2013

The Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission will meet Friday, September 27, 1:30 PM, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

See here the agenda.

Jonesboro oath of office investigation

09/25/2013

KNOE-TV8 News
By Nolan Crane, Reporter

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) – The controversy in Jonesboro continues and is expanding. Our Nolan Crane spoke with a state senator and former judge who says Monroe taxpayer dollars might have been misused in the process of swearing in Yoshi Thompson as Jonesboro’s interim mayor.

Bob Kostelka says he was shocked when he heard that Judge Tammy Lee asked to recant her swearing in of Yoshi Thompson. He also pretty certain Monroe taxpayer dollars were likely misused in the process.

It is unclear how many Monroe taxpayer dollars were used when Yoshi Thompson was sworn in as Jonesboro’s interim mayor. These photos clearly show Monroe City Court Judge Tammy Lee administering the oath and signing the documents.

Click here for the full story and video.

Lincoln Parish Fire District Meeting Thursday

09/25/2013

A special meeting of the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1 Board of Commissioners has been called for Thursday, September 26, 3:00 PM, Police Jury Conference Room, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

See here the agenda.

Judge: Thompson Would Continue to “Meddle”

09/25/2013

If left out on bond, former Jonesboro mayor Leslie Thompson would try to run the town as if he were still mayor, Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson Parishes) District Division B Judge Jimmy Teat wrote in his Reason’s for Judgement yesterday.

Thompson’s bond was revoked by Teat’s ruling and Thompson will remain in jail until his formal sentencing set for November 13.

See here the document.

Wrote Teat:

It is this Court’s opinion that if this Court did not revoke the defendant’s bond that he would continue to flagrantly disregard the law and would continue to make every effort to “meddle” into the affairs of the Town of Jonesboro to the point where the fiscal administrator would be prohibited from doing his job that he has been appointed to do.

And,

In reading the statements that the defendant herein made to the media as well as the statement he made at the city council meeting one can easily conclude that his intentions were to exercise control over the government of the Town of Jonesboro.

Teat also noted,

It is also this Court’s opinion that having the town council vote in any manner would unquestionably be an official act, duty, and/or function. It would also be this Court’s opinion that having the town council vote in favor of and supporting a given recommendation by the defendant herein is clearly an emolument and privilege of the office.