Archive for the ‘Jonesboro’ Category

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.

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.

Lincoln Jail, GNLCDC on Audit Noncompliance List


Two North Louisiana agencies that we have reported upon have turned up on the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Non-Compliance List – The Lincoln Parish Detention Center and the Greater North Louisiana Community Development Corporation.

The agencies apparently did not submit their annual audits in a timely fashion.

According to Louisiana’s Revised Statutes (RS 39:72.1), state funds can be withheld for as long as they remain on the list.

A. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no funds appropriated in the general appropriations act, the capital outlay act, or other appropriation act, shall be released or provided to any recipient of an appropriation if, when, and for as long as, the recipient fails or refuses to comply with the provisions of R.S. 24:513.

Jackson Parish Hospital Board Revamp Bill Signed by Gov


A bill that will revamp the makeup of the Board of Directors for the Jackson Parish Hospital in Jonesboro is now the law of the land.

Act 171 was signed into law last Monday by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, according to information posted on the Louisiana Legislature’s bill info website. The bill was authored by Senator Jim Fannin (District 35).

The seven member board will be cut to five members, and must be made up by area resident voters who possess 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 appointments must be made by the Jackson Parish Police Jury in time for the new board members to be in place by August 1, 2017.

Bill in LA Legislature to Change Jackson Hospital Board


A bill that would change the makeup of the Jackson Parish Hospital Board of Directors is working its way through the Louisiana Legislature this session.

Senate Bill 219, authored by Senator Jim Fannin (District 35), has passed the Louisiana Senate unanimously, and was favorably reported out of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health and Welfare. It is currently pending final House passage.

The bill would reduce the number of board members from seven to five, and would require certain minimum qualifications to be a board member. The members would serve six year terms.

From the bill:

…who shall be qualified voters and residents of the parish and shall possess the following qualifications: one commission member who shall possess financial expertise as the officer or owner of a bank or group of banks in the parish, one commission member who shall possess legal expertise as a licensed attorney in good standing in the parish who shall not be employed by the district attorney’s office, one commission member who shall possess medical expertise and is a licensed practitioner at the hospital service district hospital in the parish, one commission member who shall possess business or accounting expertise and is a licensed certified public accountant or who holds a master’s degree in business administration and practices in the parish, and one commission member who shall have managerial expertise and is employed by a manufacturer located in the parish of products made from pulp wood or other fibrous substances with more than two hundred employees.

The appointments would be made by the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ), and would take office August 1, 2017.

The present law pertaining to the makeup of the board specifies no minimum qualifications to serve.

Jonesboro Bookkeeping Amiss, Once Again


A just-released audit of the Town of Jonesboro’s finances reveal that sloppy bookkeeping has once again become a problem. Several years ago, the condition became so severe that auditors were unable to give an opinion on the town’s finances.

Among the issues cited:

Improper Treatment of Town Vehicles

This finding was first reported in 2012. While efforts were made to improve procedures, activity logs were not maintained for all Town vehicles as required by the Town’s Ordinance.

Police Tickets Not Adequately Tracked

This finding was first reported in 2015. In 2015, we reported that records for police tickets did not provide a sufficient audit trail to ensure that all ticket numbers are accounted for and receipts for fines are deposited and properly posted.

Cash Receipt Books Not Properly Maintained

This finding was first reported in 2015. In 2015, pre-numbered cash receipts were not used in order. During the year ended June 30, 2016, new ticket books were purchased and clerks were instructed to use them in order. We were better able to perform a test to account for receipt numbers. However, we noted eight receipt numbers that we could not account for. We selected twenty-five receipt numbers and attempted to trace them to deposits. We were only able to trace nine out of twenty-five receipts to deposits posted in the accounting system. We were unable to complete the test because the deposit summary does not list individual receipts. The deposit summary lists totals for each type of collection such as fines.

Noncompliance with Public Bid Law

This finding was first reported in 2015. During our fiscal year 2015 test of disbursements, we noted one disbursement out of twenty-five disbursements that appeared to have required compliance with the Public Bid Law. The disbursement was for fuel. We noted no bids obtained. The Town spent over $50,000 for fuel during the fiscal year. No bid was obtained for fiscal year 2016 purchases either.

During 2016, the Town purchased a pickup truck for $38,858 for the fire department. The board minutes of August 11, 2015 indicated approval to cash a certificate of deposit to purchase a vehicle to pull fire equipment. The bid specification included “Ford F-250 Super Duty, 2015 SRW 4×4 crew cab XL 156″ WB style side, 6.7L Power Stroke V8 Diesel 6-speed Auto Trans., Exterior shall be Silver Metallic, Interior shall be Cloth” and other detailed specifications. It did not include a statement such as “specifications are used only to denote the quality standard of product desired and that they do not restrict bidders to the specific brand, make, manufacturer, or specification named.” Also, there was no entry in the minutes that indicated that there was only one bid received, the details of the bid, or that the bid was accepted.

The payment of overtime appears to be excessive.

During fiscal year 2016, the Town paid employees for overtime hours a total of $151,838 versus $109,059 in fiscal year 2015. The following is a summary by department of those costs:

Due to the significant amount of overtime pay, we analyzed the cost by employee. Some employees received nearly as much in overtime pay as they did in regular pay. For example, one water department employee received $27,715 in regular pay, including paid time off, and $25,805 in overtime pay. One administrative employee received $39,236 in regular pay, including paid time off, and $13,263 in overtime pay. One street department employee received $30,191 in regular pay, including paid time off, and $10,942 in overtime pay.

Failure to Publish Minutes

The Town did not publish board minutes in the official journal for a period of several months. The June 2015 minutes were published July 23, 2015. We noted no other minutes published from July 23, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

See here the complete report for fiscal year 7/1/15-6/30/16.

Roller Sentenced to Jail, Must pay Restitution


Former Jackson Parish Ward Four Fire Protection District Chief Curtis Roller was two weeks ago sentenced to a two year jail sentence, and will have to make restitution of over $400 thousand, according to a press release from the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport. Roller had pled guilty last May.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jonesboro man sentenced to 24 months in prison for FEMA fraud

SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Jonesboro man was sentenced Monday to 24 months in prison for obtaining FEMA grants for a fire department so that he could then sell his company’s products to it.

Curtis Roller, 60, of Jonesboro, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on one count of wire fraud after illegally obtaining Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants and making false statements on worker compensation forms. He also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $403,355 restitution. According the guilty plea, Roller submitted false information on a grant application on May 9, 2009 to FEMA so that the Jackson Parish Ward 3 Fire Protection District was eligible to receive federal funds, which could be used to purchase equipment from his company, Louisiana Firefighting Services. It is against FEMA rules and policies for a grant writer to financially benefit from money awarded.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Service-Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.

Here are some pertinent documents:


Plea Agreement – May, 2016

Court Minutes – Sentencing

Agreed Upon Factual Basis

Roller was originally indicted in 2010, and then in 2013, a superseding indictment was returned.

Grand Jury Indictment

Representing Roller were Shreveport attorneys Ansel Stroud III, and Nicole Buckle. He is required to report on 3/28/17.

AG Opines no Dual Office Holding Violation in Jackson Parish Tax Office


A year after an advisory opinion was requested from Louisiana’s Attorney General, Assistant AG Madeline Carbonette wrote that Town of Jonesboro Alderwoman Nia Evans could also serve as Jackson Parish Tax Commission Administrator without violating the state’s Dual Officeholder Law.

Wrote Carbonette:

La. R.S. 42:63(D) does not prohibit holding an elected office in a political subdivision and full time employment in a separate political subdivision. Because Jonesboro and the Agency are separate political subdivisions, a member of the Board is not prohibited from serving as the Administrator of the Agency.

Jonesboro Mayor James Bradford had requested the opinion.

See here the complete document.

Another North Louisiana Mayor in Trouble


St. Joseph mayor target of criminal investigation

Katie Moore, WWL-TV

ST JOSEPH, La.– Mayor Ed Brown of St. Joseph, La. is the target of a criminal investigation by Louisiana State Police after a legislative audit earlier this year accused him of mismanaging the town’s finances and outlined several possible crimes Brown may have committed.

Wednesday a spokesman for Louisiana State Police confirmed that detectives had converged on the Town Hall in the small Northeast Louisiana town Tuesday to begin their investigation in earnest.

Witnesses said investigators seized documents as part of the criminal probe, but Brown has not been arrested.

Jackson Parish Tax Admin Raise Plan Tabled


A plan for for a multi-year salary schedule with yearly incremental raises was tabled at yesterday’s meeting of the Jackson Parish Sales and Use Tax Commission, after board member Todd Culpepper suggested that performance evaluations needed to be a part of any pay raise plan. Culpepper is the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) President, and the jury’s representative on the five-member commission.

Culpepper’s motion to table the issue until May was seconded by Jackson Parish School Board (JPSB) Business Manager James Odom. He is one of two school board representatives on the body.

During the discussion, Culpepper explained his action: “I have spoken with an expert personnel attorney to look at something to be fair. I think that what I would like to see happen, is for the protection of this office, for the protection of the administrator, over the years, for whatever reason, we did not give the courtesy to (former administrator) Debra (Jackson) for evaluation at the end of the year.” He added, “I think this board can take away some of the questions by at the end to the year us sitting down with Miss Nia (Edwards) and Maria (Bryant), going over things and doing what’s fair.”

Edwards was hired in January to replace Jackson. Bryant was hired in March.

The tabled salary schedule would have been effective July 1, with the administrator’s initial base salary of $43 thousand/year increased by $500 every year. The assistant administrator’s initial base salary of $27 thousand/year had a $300 yearly increase.

See here the document.

Commission Chair James Bradford appointed a three person committee to come back with another proposal in May, consisting of himself, Culpepper, and Edwards.