Archive for November, 2013

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday

11/30/2013

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, December 2, 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Court House, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

Up for introduction is the 2013 amended and 2014 proposed budgets.

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Lincoln/Union Judge Wayne Smith Won’t Seek Re-election

11/30/2013

Wayne Smith, 64, Division B Judge for the Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) will not be seeking re-election next year, Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has learned. Smith’s third six-year term ends on 12/31/14. He was first elected in 1996.

Wrote Smith in an email to local attorneys:

After much prayerful thought and deliberation, I have decided that I will not seek another term of office. I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2014.

I do not have future political aspirations. I won’t publicly or privately try to designate a successor. There are a number of you who can do this job and do it well. I will gladly offer advice and counsel to anyone considering the judgeship. My focus will be finishing this term well.

See here Smith’s announcement.

Monroe City Council Budget Upped by $150 Thousand

11/28/2013

Tuesday’s meeting of the Monroe City Council saw passage of an ordinance to increase the council’s budget by $150 thousand, on a 4-1 vote. District Two’s Gretchen Ezernack voted no.

Monroe’s controversial Mayor Jamie Mayo, who in the past had opposed the budget change, had nothing to say. In fact, the normally loquacious Mayo had nothing to say for the entire seventy-five minute meeting, save brief comments at the start.

Monroe resident Gretchen Dean questioned the extra funding for the council, calling it a “duplication of funds.” She cited a news story in The (Monroe) News Star. Also, she questioned why the council would need their own attorney, or would need a travel budget

Council Chair Eddie Clark (District 5) said that Dean’s assertions were not accurate.

Said Clark, “I guess you’re standing on the News Star, that’s not Gospel.”

Earlier this year, Clark was the target of an offensive editorial by the News Star, where he was called an “ambulance chaser.”

District One’s Ray Armstrong spoke up and said part of the money was for legal fees in connection with the lawsuit that Mayo filed against the council. Other monies were for raises for council staff.

Armstrong noted that the council was independent from the executive branch, don’t answer to the executive, and don’t always agree on matters.

Said Armstrong, “The legislative department is a co-equal branch with the executive department.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Clark said that at the December meeting, names would be nominated for appointment to the secretive Interstate 20 Economic Development District Board of Directors.

Clark said Mayo “came to the table” and they were able to settle on some issues regarding the district.

Earlier this year, Mayo fired several appointees to the board that had been made by the council, and then filed a civil suit against the council over the issue.

The city’s audit report was presented by Luffey, Huffman, Ragsdale & Soignoir’s Francis Huffman, who reported that Monroe received an unqualified opinion for the year ended 4/30/2013.

While there were no findings, he noted four issues in the management letter that needed attention – central warehouse computer issues, community center membership fees not properly collected, uncollected golf course fees, and a lack of documentation that was needed for the audit.

The city has a positive balance in general fund of about $14 million, Huffman said, but admitted in response to a question that the total outstanding debt of the city was about $200 million.

Also, Huffman said that of the $14 million surplus, about $8 1/2 million was cash.

More on Ouachita Sheriff’s Vehicles

11/28/2013

Tax payer dollars going down the gas tank

By Mark Boyle

Monroe, LA,. (KNOE 8 News) It’s policy in the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office for deputies ranking Captain and above to be able to drive take-home vehicles anywhere they want, on personal time.

During our investigation into the Fuelman gas receipts for the department, we’ve confirmed that a majority of the trips that we looked over during a six month period are for personal use and many times on vacation.

Of the nine ranking members of the agency, we were given time cards for six of them, including Major Mike Moore, Captain Buddy Aulds, CFD Craig Rambin, Captain Jay Ellerman, Captain David Jones and Sergeant Scott Smith.

We were not given time cards for Sheriff Jay Russell, Chief Deputy Marc Mashaw and Colonel James Purvis because OPSO tells us those employees are salaried and do not have them.

Those time cards revealed that 15 of the 16 out of parish and at times out of state trips taken by nine deputies are on days off and many times requested vacation time.

That begs the question, should OPSO deputies be able to take vacation trips in public vehicles anywhere they want?

Lincoln Fire District 2014 Budget Adopted

11/27/2013

A 2014 proposed budget was adopted at yesterday afternoon’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection Distric No. 1 Board of Commissioners that is about $45 thousand less than the proposed 2013 budget a year ago. The new budget contemplates a 2% raise for district employees.

See here the documents:

2014 proposed budget
2013 proposed budget

Almost all the discussion was over the amount of raises to award employees.

Commissioner Bart Dugdale noted that if raises of over 2% were to be awarded, that this was the year to do so, since new replacement hires for three recent resignations would add back to expenditures in the future.

However, Board President Richard Aillet said it might not be prudent to award too much until a better estimate for maintenance needs is documented.

Said Aillet, “I think that the general public at large is looking to the board to make sure we have stabilized to where we’re headed.” He added, “We’ve got some budget issues dealing with our mechanics, and our trucks, and our equipment, and our air packs, and our (oxygen) bottles – there’s myriad things.”

Two firemen at the meeting spoke up and allowed that while they certainly would be grateful for any greater amount than 2%, they felt that amount was sufficient. In prior years, salary increases of five to seven percent may have put a strain on budgets, they said.

A motion to adopt the proposed budget with the 2% kicker was adopted unanimously.

Richwood Police Department Shuttered

11/27/2013

Fiscal administrator shuts down Richwood PD

RICHWOOD, La. (KNOE 8 News) – Wednesday morning the newly appointed fiscal administrator announced the Richwood Police Department will be closed for the foreseeable future.

The department received a letter from newly appointed fiscal administrator Jonald Walker stating that the department would be shut down. This includes all police officers, dispatch and administration.

Officials the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s office will be taking over duties in the town. We will bring you more information as we get it.

Port Allen, LA Update – 11/25/13

11/26/2013

Slaughter doesn’t contest recall; vacates mayor’s office

By Terry Jones
tjones@theadvocate.com

PORT ALLEN — Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter chose not to challenge the results of a recall election that ordered her out of her office Monday afternoon, setting in motion a series of steps to change the administration for the West Baton Rouge Parish city.

Slaughter had until 4:30 p.m. Monday to file a lawsuit in the Clerk of Court’s Office challenging the results of a Nov. 16 recall election. During that election, 57 percent of the Port Allen residents who voted cast ballots in favor of removing the controversial mayor from office.

By 4:35 p.m. Monday, computer technicians were at City Hall disabling Slaughter’s access cards to the building and voiding the former mayor’s computer passwords as her 11-month tenure officially came to an end.

The public access restrictions Slaughter had implemented for the second and third floors of City Hall also were immediately lifted Monday afternoon.

Portion of East Baton Rouge Parish Wants Independence from Baton Rouge

11/25/2013

St. George proponents nearly halfway toward getting incorporation on ballot

By Elizabeth crisp
ecrisp@theadvocate.com

Two months into collecting signatures, supporters of creating a new East Baton Rouge Parish city called St. George say they have nearly half the names needed to get incorporation on a ballot for voters to decide.

State Sen. Bodi White, a Central Republican backing the city’s creation, told the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday that proponents are pulling in 800 to 1,000 signatures a week as they try to get at least 25 percent of the registered voters in St. George’s proposed boundaries to sign onto the incorporation plan. For St. George, that means about 18,000 voter signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot.

“It’s not a done deal, but these folks work relentlessly,” White said.

The new city would include all of the parish’s unincorporated areas south of Baton Rouge’s city limits — about 85 square miles of land and more than 107,000 residents.

http://www.stgeorgelouisiana.com/

Can a North Monroe be in Louisiana’s future?

Jack Bond, Sr., 89

11/25/2013

JONESBORO – Jack Bond Sr., a paper mill assistant superintendent, died Saturday. Services are 10 a.m. Tuesday at Edmonds Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Jonesboro Cemetery.

March 21, 1924 – November 23, 2013

Survivors One Daughter-In-Law, Carla Bond Shannahan and husband Kevin of Natchitoches, LA.

One Granddaughter, Melanie Bond Huff and husband Joseph of Boyce, LA Two Great-Grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Ethan Huff both of Boyce, LA.

One Sister, Betty Payne of Longview, TX.

Four “Adopted” Grandchildren, Jocelyn Caskey, Juliette Stokes, Stacey LaCour and Leeann George. Five “Adopted” Great-Grandchildren, Colie Northcutt, Kayla Lodridge, Taylor Lodridge, Zathary George and Grayson George. One “Adopted” Great-Great-Grandchild, Gracie Northcutt.

A Special Friend, Jeri Tolar of Ruston, LA.

Mr. Bond was preceded in death by his wife, Jacqueline Bond, his son, Jackie Bond, Jr., six brothers, Doug, Billy, Buster, Harold, Harry and Aubrey Bond and five sisters, Elsie Kirkland, Audrey Golden, Margaret Ann Hudson, Loreine Hardy and Tot Walsworth Force.

Cable TV @ Lincoln Detention Center – Why?

11/25/2013

In reviewing the general ledger expenditures of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for July through mid-November of this year, we noted $466.02 in payments to Suddenlink Cable for “cable TV” and “inmate cable.”

See here the documents.

How many of you taxpayers out there get to watch TV in your office, or while you work?