Archive for July, 2017

Lincoln Parish School Board Tomorrow


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

Here is the agenda.

There are significant personnel reassignments for August, which is normal during summer break.

See here the list.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Special Meeting Monday


A special meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) has been called for Monday, July 31, 5:30 PM, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here is the agenda.

Is Another Judge Needed in Lincoln/Union?


At yesterday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission, there was a bit of discussion about how to move cases through the court system in a more timely way, so as to relieve overcrowding at the parish jail.

Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton (who is also a member of the 5 person commission) said that a possible solution would be more court dates, or even the addition of a fourth judge to the district.

Said Belton, “If we had more court days, I think that would help.” He added, “Some of the numbers indicate we may need another judicial judgeship.”

Belton noted that adding another judge would be unlikely because of the state’s poor financial condition.

There was more discussion about pending plans to add about 100 more beds for the facility. The matter will be on the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s August agenda, it was said.

Present plans call for the police jury to borrow the estimated $3 million to fund construction from a Rural Development Loan.

Presently, the jail houses 137 state prisoners, and this has resulted in no room for housing local inmates awaiting trial. The overflow local inmates are housed in other area jails that have available space.

The state pays the jail to keep the state prisoners, and that helps defray some of the jail’s operating costs.

To our knowledge, no one has done a study that estimates the operating cost of housing ONLY pretrial inmates and local prisoners, and no state prisoners.

Now, more than half the total jailed (137 of 241) are state inmates. If there were only about 100 local prisoners, food costs would be cut in half, at least, and the number of employees could be reduced significantly.


Four Appointments Made to Jackson Parish Hospital Board


From the minutes of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) meeting of Monday, July 17:

The president opened the floor for nominations for the appointment of an attorney that complied with the mandatory requirements of the board members as introduced for legislation by Senator Fannin.

Mr. Culpepper nominated attorney Chris Bowman.

Motion Mr. Culpepper seconded Ms. Monroe to appoint Chris Bowman to a full term on the Jackson Parish Hospital Board effective August 1, 2017 in accordance with Act 171 of the 2017 Regular Legislative Session. Motion carried.

Mr. Langston nominated Angela Curtis, Loan Officer of Barksdale Federal Credit Union to fill the required appointment of a bank owner or officer of a local bank. Ms. Magee asked the president if a Credit Union qualified as a bank. Mr. Langston stated that he had contacted Mr. Fannin, and was assured by the senator that the credit union met the requirements of the legislation.

Motion Mr. Treadway seconded Mr. Culpepper to appoint Angela Curtis to the Jackson Parish Hospital Board to a full term effective August 1, 2017 in accordance with Act 171. Motion carried.

Mr. Culpepper nominated Dr. Rebecca Crouch as the required practitioner for the hospital board.

Ms. Rowe nominated Heather Negrotto as the practitioner.

Voting for Dr. Rebecca Crouch were Mr. Treadway and Mr. Culpepper.
Voting for Ms. Heather Negrotto were Ms. Rowe, Ms. Monroe, Ms. Magee and Mr. Treadway.
Abstaining was Mr. McCarty.

Ms. Negrotto will assume membership effective August 1, 2017 for a full term on the hospital board as the required practitioner working at the Jackson Parish Hospital.

The president called for nominations for a member of management representing the pulp wood industries.

Mr. Treadway nominated Todd Pyles as the managerial member of the board. He stated that Mr. Pyles had been recommended by the West Rock Plant Manager for the vacancy.

Motion Mr. Culpepper seconded Ms. Monroe to table the appointment of the pulp wood industry member. Motion carried.

Motion Mr. Culpepper seconded Mr. McCarty to remove the appointment of the pulp wood industry from the table and consider nominations. Motion carried.

Mr. Treadway nominated Todd Pyles.
Ms. Magee nominated Cedric Garner.

Voting for Mr. Pyles: Mr. Treadway
Voting for Mr. Garner: Mr. Culpepper, Mr. Langston, Ms. Magee, Mr. McCarty and Ms. Monroe
Abstaining: Ms. Rowe

Mr. Garner will assume the appointment representing management of a pulp wood industry for a full term effective August 1, 2017.

This leaves the CPA/MBA member the only vacancy to fill prior to August 1.

Nineteen Apply for LPPJ Treasurer Position


Nineteen individuals have applied for the position of Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) Treasurer. Of those, six did not meet minimum qualification.

See here the document detailing job description and qualifications. See here the advertisement for the position.

Of the half-dozen or so that appear to be most qualified, four have Master’s degrees or an MBA. All of that group are college graduates, most from Louisiana Tech University or the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Three of the top group have governmental accounting experience, and all are current residents of North Louisiana. One is a CPA.

Some of the applicants had requested anonymity because of their present employment status, and accordingly, we will respect that request.

JPPJ to Appoint New Hospital Board


The Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) will tomorrow night move forward on the appointment of five new members to the Jackson Parish Hospital District Board of Directors.

The action is pursuant to new law (Act 171) enacted by the Louisiana Legislature earlier this year. The law requires the new members to have the following qualifications:

Officer or owner of a bank located in Jackson Parish
Licensed attorney who is not an assistant DA
Licensed health practitioner employed by the hospital
Certified pubic accountant or master of business administration graduate who practices in Jackson Parish
Individual with managerial experience at the Hodge, LA paper mill

The meeting is set for 5:30 PM, Monday, July 17, Dr. Charles H. Garrett Community Center, 182 Industrial Drive.

Here is the agenda.

LPPJ Committee has Improper Secret Session


For the second time this year, a Lincoln Parish public body apparently has violated provisions of the state’s Open Meetings Law.

The Personnel/Benefits Committee of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) on Tuesday night met in executive session to “review applications for parish treasurer and recommend qualified finalists for interview.”

However, the committee failed to have a roll call vote on the motion for executive session, nor did the motion clearly state the reason for the session.

LA RS 42:16 Executive Sessions

The vote of each member on the question of holding such an executive session and the reason for holding such an executive session shall be recorded and entered into the minutes of the meeting.

Secondly, the Open Meetings Law does not make an exception for the discussion of an appointment to a public body.

LA RS 42:17 Exceptions to Open Meetings

A. A public body may hold an executive session pursuant to R.S. 42:16 for one or more of the following reasons:
(1) Discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of a person, provided that such person is notified in writing at least twenty-four hours, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, before the scheduled time contained in the notice of the meeting at which such executive session is to take place and that such person may require that such discussion be held at an open meeting. However, nothing in this Paragraph shall permit an executive session for discussion of the appointment of a person to a public body or, except as provided in R.S. 39:1593(C)(2)(c), for discussing the award of a public contract. In cases of extraordinary emergency, written notice to such person shall not be required; however, the public body shall give such notice as it deems appropriate and circumstances permit.

Finally, during the secret meeting, the committee reviewed the applicants, and recommended finalists to be interviewed, according to a source who was in the meeting. Review is permissible, but the recommendation cannot be done in secret.

LA RS 42:16 Executive Sessions

An executive session shall be limited to matters allowed to be exempted from discussion at open meetings by R.S. 42:17; however, no final or binding action shall be taken during an executive session.

Accordingly, we have filed a formal complaint with the Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney asking that the committee’s action be declared null and void. The Open Meetings Law has a provision that requires the local DA to take action if a complaint is made.

LA RS 42:25 – Enforcement

B. Each district attorney shall enforce the provisions of this Chapter throughout the judicial district within which he serves. He may institute enforcement proceedings on his own initiative and shall institute such proceedings upon a complaint filed with him by any person, unless written reasons are given as to why the suit should not be filed.

Also, we have filed a public records request with the Police Jury’s Custodian of Records seeking the names of the applicants who have applied for the Parish Treasurer position.

LPSO to Begin Dumpster Patrols


For the next six months at least, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) deputies will begin patrolling the parish’s trash dumpsters in unmarked cars, in an effort to control problems with scavenging and out-of-parish dumping. The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) Solid Waste & Recycling Committee voted unanimously at last night’s meeting to approve a plan presented by LPSO Investigations & Patrol Commander Stephen Williams.

Taxpayers, however will be dinged to pay for the deputy patrols, up to a maximum of $1,200/week. Vehicle expenses will not be billed.

See here the proposal.

Williams said that Saturday and Sunday evenings were the prime times for problems. “The sheriff’s office is not looking to make any money off of this,” he said. He added that revenues from tickets should defray the cost of the patrols.

Williams said that the fines run from $400 to $600 per ticket, and that he had spoken with the Assistant District Attorney Laurie James, who promised cooperation.

The patrols are expected to begin within the next couple of weeks, Williams told Lincoln Parish News Online.

The committee also renewed for two more years the contract with Crochet Equipment Company to operate a woodwaste disposal facility at the Lincoln Parish Landfill. The original contract had a clause that would allow the jury to buy the equipment if it so choose, which it did not.

See here the contract.

The full jury passed a resolution and had a moment of silence to remember former juror Annie Brown, who died on July 5. Brown served on the jury for twelve years, from 2000 to 2012.

See here the resolution.

Cooktown Rd/I-20 Development Proposed


An unnamed entity is proposing a retail development at the northwest corner of Cooktown Road and Interstate 20, and wants the City of Ruston to participate in public infrastructure improvements in connection with the project, it was revealed at last night’s meeting of the city’s Board of Aldermen. The council voted unanimously to permit Mayor Ronny Walker to negotiate with the developer on those improvements, and report back to the council prior to any agreement.

The developer was not named.

Said Alderman Bruce Siegmund (Ward 5), “Mayor, you know people are going to want to know is this the long-rumored Target that’s coming to town, so I have to ask the question.”

Walker deferred to Economic Development Director Kristi Lumpkin, who had no comment on what was in store for the 20 acre parcel.

The council also approved an agreement with Resource Development Associates, Inc. for consulting services related to the recreational complex. The consultant will develop plans and procedures on operation of the complex, and would likely take up to a year and a half to complete.

An agreement with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. was approved to begin conceptual layout design and presentation materials for an interchange at Rough Edge Road and Interstate 20. The existing overpass is located about 2 miles east of the Farmerville Road (LA Hwy 33) exit.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Meets Tuesday


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury is set to meet Tuesday, July 11, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor. Here are the agendas and meeting times for the committees.

Solid Waste & Recycling Committee – 5:30 PM

Personnel/Benefits Committee – 6:00 PM

Parks, Recreation & Tourism Committee – 6:30 PM

Police Jury – 7:00 PM