The Jackson Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission voted unanimously at Friday’s meeting to request an Attorney General’s Opinion to clarify the new administrator’s status regarding the state’s Dual Officeholder Law and newly hired administrator Nia Evans. The vote came after discussion among the board members about the possibility of reducing her hours from 35 weekly to 34, which, it was said, would make her status “part time.”
Board Chair James Bradford said that according to a couple of opinions from the Louisiana Attorney General, Evans wasn’t in conflict with state law.
Said Bradford, “This job is not considered the same political subdivision. Therefore, there is no dual officeholding.”
The opinions both deal with an employee of the Webster Parish Tax Commission who was exploring a run for Minden City Council. The opinions say that since the duties were in two different political subdivisions, then there was no conflict.
However, further research into the law by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has turned up this provision, which appears to be applicable here.
LA RS 42:64 – Incompatible offices
A. In addition to the prohibitions otherwise provided in this Part, no other offices or employments shall be held by the same person in combination if any of the following conditions are found to pertain and these prohibitions shall exist whether or not the person affected by the prohibition exercises power in conjunction with other officers:
(6) Funds received by one office or employment are deposited with or turned over to the other office or position.
In Evans’ case, as administrator she collects the sales and use taxes parishwide, then remits to each government entity in the parish (School Board, Police Jury, Town of Jonesboro, etc) its proper proportion of the monthly tax take. Evans is Alderman at Large for Jonesboro.
Louisiana’s Dual Officeholding & Dual Employment law states as its purpose:
LA RS 42:61 Declaration of policy
A. It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public officials and employees perform the public business in a manner which serves to promote and maintain in the general citizenry a high level of confidence and trust in public officials, public employees, and governmental decisions. The attainment of this end is impaired when a public official or employee holds two or more public offices or public jobs which by their particular nature conflict with the duties and interests of each other. The attainment of a high level of confidence and trust by the general citizenry in public officials, employees, and governmental decisions is further impaired by the excessive accumulation of governmental power which may result from public officials or employees holding two or more public offices or public jobs.
B. It is the purpose of this Part to implement a policy which will serve to maintain a high level of trust and confidence by the general citizenry in public officials, employees, and governmental decisions of the government of this state and of its political subdivisions by defining and regulating dual employment and by defining, regulating, and prohibiting dual officeholding.
In other business, the board voted to advertise for an assistant administrator for the office. The notice, along with a job description will be published in the parish’s official journal. Applications for the position will then be reviewed by the board and a decision made.
The board also voted to retain Kenneth D. Folden, & Co CPA to act as bookkeeper for the agency. Folden has fulfilled that role for some time, it was noted.
The next meeting of the commission is 12 Noon, Tuesday, March 1, 319 Jimmie Davis Blvd.