Payment of fees to a police jury related group was questioned at Tuesday night’s special called meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), but it appears such payments are allowed by law, subject to jury confirmation.
Long-time political activist Bill Smith questioned whether dues payments to the Black Caucus (a group affiliated with the Police Jury Association of Louisiana (PJAL)) was legal, and implied that such payments might be malfeasance.
Said Smith, “I like to be sure and hear the auditor cover that particular line item, and tell me whether or not the Lincoln Parish Police Jury under the leadership of Jody Backus, paid Black Caucus dues, how many they paid, or did not pay. And whether or not that is legal, and whether or not that constitutes malfeasance in office.”
The auditor said that particular issue wasn’t covered in his just-completed audit.
A review this morning of the jury’s records by Lincoln Parish News Online shows that in February of this year a $150 check payable to the Black Caucus was processed. It covered the dues for three jurors: Joe Henderson, Hazel Hunter, and Sharyon Mayfield. The caucus was set to meet during the annual PJAL State Convention, March 3-5, in Shreveport.
Proper documentation was attached to the check stub.
Here is the applicable provision in the law regarding itemized expenses for jurors.
A.(3) In addition to any other compensation or expense allowance provided by law, each parish governing authority which does not operate under a home rule charter may pay a monthly, itemized expense allowance, not to exceed two hundred dollars per month, to the members of the governing authority as payment for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Such expense allowance shall be provided upon approval of a majority of the members of the governing authority after public hearing.
As of Tuesday night, no hearing or vote of the jury had been taken on juror expenses.