Archive for the ‘Jonesboro’ Category

JPPJ Employee $2/hr Raise Fails on 3-3 Tie Vote

05/18/2015

A $2/hr across the board raise for hourly employees of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) failed on a 3 to 3 tie vote at tonight’s meeting of the body.

Making the motion for the $2/hr amount was Ward Five’s Maxie Monroe, with Ward Four’s Billy Bryant seconding the motion. In addition to those two, Ward Two’s Eddie Langston voted for the motion.

Voting no were Todd Culpepper (Ward One), Chuck Garrett (Ward Six), and Lynn Treadway (Ward Seven).

Amy McGee (Ward Three) abstained.

Moments earlier, Garrett moved for a $1/hr raise, but no second was forthcoming.

Treadway said that the timing was not right for the raise, and that it should be discussed when budgets are worked up each year.

Monroe replied that she had tried to bring up the issue last year at budget time, but got little support.

Garrett noted that he had received numerous phone calls on the issue. “I never got so many phone calls,” he said.

McGee said that the raises should be based on merit, instead of across the board. As she was new on the jury, she didn’t know the employees well enough to cast an informed vote, she said.

Jackson Parish Police Jury to Vote on Employee $2/hr Raise Monday

05/15/2015

A committee meeting of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) called for Monday, May 18, has now evolved into a meeting of the full jury.

On the agenda:

Consider the recommendation of the May 4th Finance Committee for implementing a $2.00 per hour pay increase effective with the pay period beginning May 16, 2015 for all hourly employees, and to provide that those employees currently working under probationary status will be eligible for the $2.00 per hour increase upon successful completion of their probationary period.

The meeting begins at 5:30 PM, Dr. Charles H. Garrett Community Center, 182 Industrial Drive.

See here the complete agenda.

Also, the Road Committee will meet at 5:00 PM.

See here the agenda.

JPPJ Employee Pay & History Detailed

05/14/2015

While the hourly employees of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) may seem to earn relatively modest base pay compared with some in private industry, their fringe benefits help compensate significantly, documents obtained via a public records request show.

Also, employees have received cost of living raises every year save one, since 2004. The jury is considering whether to award an immediate $2.00/hr pay raise across the board to all hourly employees.

In the road crew, existing hourly pay scales range from a high of $20.86/hr to a low of $12.29/hr. In the solid waste department, the range is $18.86/hr to $11.15/hr.

All full-time employees receive employer paid retirement contributions that range from about $4,000 to $6,000 dollars annually. Very few employees in private industry receive employer funded retirement plans, but instead participate in 401K and other employee-funded plans, or pay into Social Security.

Also, JPPJ employees receive full employer paid medical plans that cost $6,733/year. Most private industry medical plans are now only half-funded by employers, with the balance paid by the employee.

The fringe benefits amount to about $5.00/hr.

The documents show that since 2004, employees have received a minimum of 2% cost of living raises each year, with one year (2007) receiving raises of 2% and 5%. In the year 2010, no raises were granted.

For the year 2015, a 2 1/2% raise was awarded.

See here the documents.

Jackson Parish Police Jury Committee to Meet on Employee Pay Raise Next Week

05/12/2015

Last night’s meeting of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) discussed the matter of a $2/hr pay raise for Solid Waste, Road, and Maintenance employees, but delayed action until the Finance Committee could meet again on the issue.

The matter first surfaced at a 5/4/15 meeting of the Finance Committee:

Motion Mr. Garrett seconded Ms. Monroe to place on the May 11 regular session by a roll call vote, the recommendation of implementing a $2.00 per hour pay increase effective with the pay period beginning May 16, 2015 for all hourly employees, and to provide that those employees currently working under probationary status will be eligible for the $2.00 per hour increase upon successful completion of their probationary period. Motion carried.

See here the complete minutes.

The action comes days after Jackson Parish voters approved by a wide margin re-imposition of two ten-year sales taxes totaling 1% for roads and solid waste.

Jonesboro resident Donna Vines said she might have not voted for the taxes had she known of the pending raises.

Said Vines, “I did not vote for a tax for a pay raise. I voted for upkeep of roads, for waste management, whatever we need.”

She said that the employees received a 2 1/2% cost of living raise in January.

The jurors discussed adding the issue to the agenda, but decided to have another finance committee meeting next week (Monday, May 18, 5:00 PM) to further discuss the issue.

Jurors heard from a couple of residents in the Woodway Circle neighborhood on Caney Lake.

Robert Greer said a former private residence had been sold and had become a commercial-type facility. Greer said when the subdivision was originally developed, the lots were restricted to single-family residences.

The facility in question was being advertised for rent on several websites, Greer said. The jury was asked if there was anything they could to do about the situation.

Also speaking up was resident William Haikes.

Jury President Eddie Langston said he would research the matter and get back with the residents.

Bobby Jordan, Interim Administrator of the Jackson Parish Hospital reported that the building had some cosmetic issues, and the grounds needed “lots of work.”

Those issues aside, Jordan said that the radiology department, laboratory, and other diagnostic equipment was first-rate.

Jordan, who has been on the job for only a few days, said with proper organization and leadership, the facility would become something to be proud of.

Vote on $2/Hr Raise for JPPJ Employees Delayed

05/11/2015

A vote on a $2/hr raise for most of the hourly employees of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) was delayed at tonight’s meeting.

We will have additional reporting tomorrow with further details.

Jonesboro City Council Tuesday

05/11/2015

The Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen will meet Tuesday, May 12, 6:00 PM, W. Richard Zuber City Hall, 128 Allen Avenue.

Here is the agenda.

At 5:30 PM, there will be a public hearing at the same location to take public comment on the 2015-2016 Local Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) program.

Jackson Parish Police Jury Monday

05/08/2015

The Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) will meet Monday, May 11, 5:30 PM, Dr. Charles H. Garrett Community Center, 182 Industrial Drive.

Here is the agenda.

Roller Withdraws Guilty Plea

04/17/2015

Jackson Parish Ward Four Fire Protection District Chief Curtis Roller has withdrawn his guilty plea made last year to three counts of wire fraud, according to court documents obtained by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO).

At issue is the amount of loss attributable to the crime, the “pecuniary gain” Roller received from the crime, and the corresponding sentence that Roller could be facing, depending upon the monetary amounts.

Roller contends he received about $19 thousand in ill-gotten gains, while the government contends the amount should be calculated upon the amount of the grant money at issue, some $800 thousand plus.

The lesser amount would likely result in a sentence of probation, versus a 3 to 4 year jail sentence for the greater amount, according to the documents.

The motion to withdraw the guilty plea was granted 1/13/15.

See here the documents:

Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea

Memo in Support of Motion

Letter from Assistant US Attorney to Defense Counsel

See here the original plea agreement.

Prosecuting the case is Assistant US Attorney Earl Campbell. Defense attorneys are Marty Stroud and Nichole Buckle.

North Hodge Update

04/13/2015

Village of North Hodge Officials, Employees Misuse Public Funds

Village of North Hodge officials and employees, including former Mayor Geraldine Causey and former Assistant Police Chief Greg Coleman, spent more than $9,000 on equipment, supplies, and other items not necessary for Village operations, according to an audit report issued Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office.

On August 12, 2014, Mr. Coleman was arrested by Jackson Parish Sheriff’s deputies and charged with malfeasance in office. Later that month, Village Clerk Patricia Tapp, who also served as a Village police officer, resigned from both of her positions. As a result, Ms. Causey contacted the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and requested an audit of the Village, the report said.

According to the audit, “Mr. Coleman used Village funds totaling $2,595 to purchase 8,000 rounds of ammunition that do not match the caliber of any weapon owned by the police department. Chief Moffett stated that he did not authorize the purchase,” and added that, “the ammunition matches the caliber for personal weapons owned by Mr. Coleman.” Chief Moffett also stated that Mr. Coleman used Village funds to purchase a truck and a lawnmower for his own use.

The audit also found that “Village police department employees incurred travel expenses of $998 for which there appears to be no public purpose.” On July 16, 2014, the Village’s debit card was used in Bossier City to withdraw $200 from a Village bank account. The supporting paperwork included an invoice from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), which showed that
Mr. Coleman and Ms. Tapp were registered for a conference at the Downtown Shreveport Hotel in Shreveport for July 17-18, 2014, at a cost of $200. Village payroll records show that Mr. Coleman and Ms. Tapp claimed to have attended “Class” for nine hours per day on July 16-17th, 2014.

In the report, NADDI representatives said the invoice used to support the withdrawal was not theirs. They also noted that the conference was in held in New Orleans, not Shreveport. They further indicated that although Mr. Coleman and Ms. Tapp registered for the conference, NADDI did not receive the registration fee, and the officers did not attend the conference. Total Rewards gaming card records obtained from Harrah’s Entertainment indicate that Mr. Coleman used his rewards card at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City on July 16, 2014. “It appears that either Mr. Coleman or Ms. Tapp submitted false documentation to support the $200 cash withdrawal,” the report said.

The audit also revealed that Ms. Tapp seems to have paid herself excess wages totaling $5,577 through unauthorized pay increases for her positions as the Village clerk and as a police officer. Former (and current assistant) Village Clerk Joanie Cannady also received excess wages totaling $1,145.

A number of other violations were stated in the report, including additional unauthorized withdrawals from Village bank accounts and unauthorized purchases of groceries and firearms.

A copy of this report has been sent to the District Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Louisiana.

See here the complete report.

Jackson Parish Hospital Update

04/13/2015

Jackson Parish Hospital Employees Misuse Payroll System

Two former Jackson Parish Hospital employees mismanaged payments for accrued time off and payroll deductions, awarding themselves more than $120,000 in unearned pay and benefits, according to an audit report issued Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office.

Former hospital employees Elizabeth Cheatwood and Vickie Booker received a combined $89,960 in excessive payments for accrued time off and a combined $33,197 of supplemental health insurance policies and uniforms offered through the hospital for which they did not pay. Ms. Cheatwood also received a stipend for health insurance in the amount of $26,072 to which she was not entitled.
Ms. Cheatwood was terminated on December 5, 2014, and Ms. Booker was terminated on December 8, 2014.

According to the audit report, a change in the hospital’s accounting and payroll systems’ software in December 2008 led Ms. Cheatwood, a human resource employee, and Ms. Booker, an accounts payable clerk, to discover they could be paid for their accrued time off without deducting the hours from their accrued time off balances.

At the time of termination, Ms. Cheatwood had a negative balance of almost 1900 hours of accrued time off, and Ms. Booker had a negative balance of nearly 2500 hours. At least three other employees received accrued time off payouts without deductions being made to their accounts. Hospital policy allows employees to receive cash for up to 10 days of accrued time off when an employee is unable to schedule a vacation, but the corresponding hours must be deducted from the employee’s balance.

Because Ms. Cheatwood worked in human resources and Ms. Booker was in accounts payable, they were able to misuse the payroll system, the report said. David Sanders, the hospital’s chief financial officer, stated in the report, “that all hospital checks are required to have two signatures to be valid and that
Ms. Cheatwood had control over three signature stamps used to process the payroll checks.” Ms. Booker had “blank payroll checks in her office and had the authority to print checks at her desk,” the report said.

In addition, the audit noted, Ms. Cheatwood and Ms. Booker made numerous adjustments to their individual payroll deductions and did not reimburse the hospital for supplemental insurance policies and uniforms they received.

The hospital did not reconcile its health and supplemental insurance invoices or other employee benefits to payroll deductions to ensure it received proper reimbursement. As a result, the hospital paid $200,997 for employee benefits that were not reimbursed because of undetected errors.

The report also indicates “that from January 2012 to December 2014, the hospital collected $121,968 in cash that was never deposited.” Ms. Booker stated that she took “$200 to $300 per week” from hospital collections and deposited it to her bank account or spent it. She denied taking the entire $121,968.

On March 13, 2015, state police arrested three former Jackson Parish Hospital employees and the spouse of one of the former employees, the report said. A copy of this report has been delivered to the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana.

See here the complete report.


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