Archive for the ‘Jonesboro’ Category

New Jackson Parish Tax Administrator has Dual Officeholding Conflict


The just-hired administrator for the Jackson Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission apparently has a conflict with Louisiana’s “Dual Officeholding” Statutes.

Nia Evans, hired by the board last Friday, also serves on the Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen as Alderman-at-large.

According to LA RS 42:63:

D. No person holding an elective office in a political subdivision of this state shall at the same time hold another elective office or full-time appointive office in the government of this state or in the government of a political subdivision thereof. No such person shall hold at the same time employment in the government of this state, or in the same political subdivision in which he holds an elective office.

It appears Evans will either have to resign her council seat, or find another job.

The law’s Declaration of Policy (LA RS 42:61) states:

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.

Jackson Parish Tax Commission Issues Emerge


A Friday (1/29/16) Noon meeting of the Jackson Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission called to hire a new Administrator may not have followed proper procedure, Lincoln Parish News Online has learned.

The board hired Mia Evans to replace long-time administrator Debra Jackson.

However, the board failed to allow public comment prior to a vote to go into executive session, or prior to the actual vote on the hire, sources have told LPNO.

The board is comprised of Town of Jonesboro Mayor James Bradford, Village of Hodge Mayor Gerald Palmer, Jackson Parish Police Jury President Todd Culpepper, Jackson Parish School Board President Melissa Perry, and school board Treasurer James Odom.

Nominating Evans was Culpepper, and seconding was Palmer. No other applicants were nominated.

It is also unclear whether the position was properly advertised prior to the selection, and whether any interviews were conducted with the several other people who did apply for the job.

Edwards Fundraiser @ Squire Creek Next Month

click to enlarge

Jackson Parish Police Jury Meeting Minutes – 11/23/15


November 23, 2015 -Jonesboro, Louisiana

The following are selected entries to the minutes.  See the link above for the complete record.

The Jackson Parish Police Jury met in special session Monday, November 23, 2015, at 5:30 PM in thePolice Jury Meeting Room ofthe Jackson Parish Courthouse. Members present: Todd Culpepper, AmyMagee, Billy Bryant, Maxie Monroe, Charles Garrett and Lynn Treadway. Absent: Eddie Langston.

Mr. Langston arrived and the vice president relinquished the chair to the president.

Motion Ms. Monroe seconded Ms. Magee to appropriate $50,000 to the Town of Jonesboro. A roll call vote was taken.
Mr. Treadway – Nay
Mr. Garrett –Yea
Ms. Monroe –Yea
Mr. Bryant –Yea
Ms. Magee –Yea
Mr. Langston –Yea
Mr. Culpepper –Nay
Motion passed with 5 yeas, 2 nays

Motion Mr. Garrett seconded Ms. Monroe to rescind the resolution adopted on December 16, 2013reducing the compensation of members of the Jackson Parish Police Jury to $600.00 per month effective with the new term of jurors effective January 11, 2016. Motion carried with Mr. Culpepper nay.

Jackson Parish Police Jury Pay on Monday Agenda


The issue of police jury pay is up for discussion again, but this time it’s Jackson Parish. On the Monday, 11/23, 5:30 PM, agenda is this:

Rescind resolution adopted on December 16, 2014 reducing the compensation of Jurors to $600 per month effective January 11, 2016.

Here is the complete agenda.

Also, the Personnel Committee will meet at 5:00 PM. Here is the agenda.

The meeting will be in the Police Jury Meeting room on the third floor of the Jackson Parish Courthouse, 500 East Court Street.

Two incumbent jurors were reelected yesterday, Amy McGee (Ward 3), and Lynn Treadway (Ward 7).

Johnny McCarty unseated Billy Bryant (Ward 4) to regain the seat he held for several months in 2012. McCarty had been appointed after long time juror Nate Zeno died, and lost it to Bryant in a special election.

$50 Thousand JPPJ Appropriation to Jonesboro Tabled


Last Monday’s Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) meeting saw another significant action item tabled – a $50 thousand appropriation to the Town of Jonesboro for repairs to the town’s infrastructure.

From the minutes of the 10/26/15 meeting:

The president called for public comments. Ms. Linda Devine thanked the jury for their work in amending the parish road ordinance. She asked about the purpose of the agenda item to appropriate $50,000 to the Town of Jonesboro. Members of the jury stated that the appropriation was for emergency repairs to the town’s infrastructure.

Motion Mr. Garrett seconded Ms. Monroe to appropriate $50,000 to the Town of Jonesboro from the General Fund. The president called for a roll call vote.

Motion Mr. Treadway seconded Mr. Bryant to table action on the proposed appropriation until the mayor submitted a letter detailing the use of the funds. Motion carried with Ms. Monroe and Mr. Garrett voting nay.

Jackson Parish Police Jury Pay Raise Tabled


On a motion by Jackson Parish Police Jury’s Chuck Garrett (Ward 6), and seconded by Lynn Treadway (Ward 7), an agenda item to restore a pay cut for jurors instituted two years ago was tabled unanimously at last night’s meeting of the jury.

As the situation now stands, monthly pay for each juror will be cut to $600/month, effective 1/11/16. That action was taken at the 12/16/13 meeting, almost two years ago.

Presently, jurors are paid $1,200/month, with the president’s pay set at $1,350/month.

Last night’s activity comes right after last Saturday’s election that saw four of the seven jury seats settled, but with three others to be decided in a Saturday, November 21 runoff election.

Elected without opposition last Saturday were Eddie Langston (Ward 2), and Maxie Monroe (Ward 5). Todd Culpepper (Ward 1) bested his opponent Tom Goss, 477 to 419. Goss had previously served as Ward 1 juror.

Also winning outright in Ward 6 was Regina Rowe over Rod Potts, Jr., 287 to 234. Incumbent Chuck Garrett didn’t seek reelection.

To be decided are:

Ward 3 – Amy McGee (Incumbent) vs Allen Lindsay
Ward 4 – Billy Bryant (Incumbent) vs Johnny McCarty
Ward 7 – Lynn Treadway (Incumbent) vs Rodney Potts

North Hodge Audit Has Several Significant Findings


The Village of North Hodge’s latest audit for the fiscal year ended 9/30/2014 has several significant findings.

2014-4. Supporting Documentation Not Available.
Village employees were unable to find all supporting documentation for fines and forfeitures revenue and for water and sewer billings.

2014-7 Questionable Purchases.
From April 17, 2013, to September 4, 2014, Village of North Hodge officials and employees purchased equipment, supplies, and other items totaling $9,207 not necessary for Village operations.

2014-8 Village Employees Paid Excess Wages.
From October 19, 2012, to August 22, 2014, former excess wages paid through unauthorized
pay increases totaling $6,722. In addition, former Village Clerk Patricia Tapp may have violated state law by holding incompatible offices (Village clerk and police officer).

2014-9 Questionable Travel Expenses.
From January 2014 to July 2014, Village police department employees incurred travel expenses totaling $998 for which there appears to be no public purpose.

See here the complete report.

In last fall’s elections, Kathy Robertson defeated Geraldine Causey, who had been mayor since 2003.

It is notable that North Hodge received over half of the village’s FY 2014 total revenues (about $206 thousand) from fines and forfeitures (about $118 thousand).

Area School Residency Requirements Not Equally Enforced


While Jackson Parish Schools students must go to school in the district where their parents or guardians reside, it appears that at least one West Monroe HS student’s high profile parents don’t have to follow the law.

See here U. S. District Judge Robert James’ order that directs Jackson Parish students to attend schools in their attendance zones.

Order of Modification

From the document:

Address Verification

a. All students. In addition to completing the Residency Form, students seeking to enroll or to continue enrollment in the District schools for school year 2015-2016, or for the first time at any time thereafter, must provide at least two (2) of the items listed below as verification of the student’s address. The submitted documents must show the location by street address of the residence of the parent, legal guardian, foster care parent, or non-parents (as applicable) where the child maintains his or her primary residence.
• Current valid driver’s license or state ID showing a residential street address (not a post office box)
• Current property tax records
• Current mortgage documents or property deed
• In cases of apartment or home lease, a notarized statement from the property owner/lessor identifying himself/herself as the property owner/lessor, describing the property, and the term of the lease, identifying the lease-holder
• Current rent payment receipt or copy of money order made for payment of rent showing residence address
• Current valid automobile registration showing residence address
• Current telephone or utility bill showing residence address
• Current voter identification card showing residence address
• Notarized affidavit verifying residence (street) address

However, Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton claims a Lincoln Parish address as his primary residence, but his son John Randall attends West Monroe HS. Both Belton and his wife Alana are registered Lincoln Parish voters.

See here from the LA Secretary of State website:

John F. K. Belton
Alana Gilbert Belton

Belton’s latest financial disclosure statement lists his address as 138 Griffin Road, Ruston. The Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor website confirms property at that location belonging to John and Alana Belton, and that is homestead exempt. See here the documents:

Financial Disclosure (2015)
Lincoln Parish Tax Records (2015)

According to Louisiana’s Election Law, LA RS RS 18:101:

B. For purposes of the laws governing voter registration and voting, “resident” means a citizen who resides in this state and in the parish, municipality, if any, and precinct in which he offers to register and vote, with an intention to reside there indefinitely. If a citizen resides at more than one place in the state with an intention to reside there indefinitely, he may register and vote only at one of the places at which he resides. If a person claims a homestead exemption, pursuant to Article VII, Section 20 of the Constitution of Louisiana, on one of the residences, he shall register and vote in the precinct in which that residence is located, except that a person who resides in a nursing home as defined in R.S. 40:2009.2 or in a veterans’ home operated by the state or federal government may register and vote at the address where the nursing home or veterans’ home is located. For purposes of voter registration and voting, the residence of a married woman shall be determined in the same manner as is required for any other citizen. A citizen of this state shall not be or remain registered or vote in more than one place of residence at any one time.

Lincoln Parish School’s Student Assignment Policy says this:


The School Board shall require verification of residence of those students whose residence is suspected to be outside the attendance zone of the school the student is attending. When investigating the residence of a student, the School Board shall attempt to verify the primary place of residence of the legal parent or legal guardian. Such verification of residence shall be based on such items as the following:

1. Voter registration card of parent or guardian, or
2. Property tax statement of parent or guardian showing homestead exemption, or
3. Certified copy of any judicially ordered tutorship, custody or guardianship of any minor child student not domiciled or in the custody of their natural and/or legal parents. Verification of the physical residency of the legal custodian, tutor/tutrix or non-parent shall also be required, or
4. Any other documentation as may be stipulated by the Board.

Apparently Belton uses a West Monroe address for purposes of school attendance. See here the document:

115 Creole Lane, West Monroe, LA 71291

Ouachita Parish Schools Student Assignment Policy says this:

Each student shall have only one residence (domicile) which is determined to be the place where he/she predominantly sleeps, takes meals, and maintains personal belongings. To establish domicile in the Ouachita Parish School District, a parent or legal custodian must present sufficient information which supports both that the parent, legal custodian, or caregiver is actually domiciled within the Ouachita Parish School Board jurisdictional school boundaries, and confirm that the child under his or her care, custody and/or control is actually domiciled with that parent or legal custodian.

See here the document.

Lafayette’s “Secret Cajun Man” Gets Six Years in Jail


Recall the scandal at the Lafayette District Attorney’s office three years ago that cost incumbent DA Mike Harson his job last year?

Robert Williamson, the Lafayette private investigator who billed himself as “Secret Cajun Man” was sentenced to 78 months in prison for his role in a pay-for-plea scheme involving mostly DWI citations.

Private Investigator Williamson Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison on Charges in Bribery Case

LAFAYETTE, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that private investigator Robert Williamson was sentenced to 78 months in prison on charges related to his role in a pay-for-plea scheme that garnered favorable treatment for defendants charged with OWI and various state crimes. Williamson, 67, of Lafayette, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery and one count of Social Security fraud. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $77,677.20 in restitution. According to the June 8, 2015 guilty plea, Williamson, who is not licensed to practice law, was part of a conspiracy from March 2008 to February 2012 that solicited thousands of dollars from individuals with pending criminal charges in the 15th Judicial District. Williamson promised favorable resolutions to pending felony and misdemeanor cases, the majority of which were OWI cases.

Williamson paid bribes in cash and other things of value to personnel within the District Attorney’s Office for the 15th Judicial District and employees with other organizations associated with the OWI program, including Acadiana Outreach. Williamson also obtained false and fraudulent certifications from Acadiana Outreach, which certified that his clients completed court-ordered community service, when in fact the individuals had not. Williamson would obtain fraudulent driver safety training certificates showing that Williamson’s “clients” completed court-mandated driver improvement programs when they had not. Some of those monies were for fines, penalties and other expenses. During the course of the scheme, Williamson also received approximately $77,677.20 from the Social Security Administration that he was not entitled to receive.

“The public good was circumvented by the greed and lies perpetrated by Williamson and his associates,” Finley stated. “People who should have been dissuaded from drunk driving by receiving jail time and other penalties were instead given a pass to endanger lives again and again. The damage that this conspiracy has wrought cannot be quantified. We hope that this sentence brings an end to this type of practice and serves as a warning to anyone who would try to conduct a similar scam and circumvent the legal process.”

Co-defendants Barna D. Haynes, 61; Greg Williams, 47; and Sandra Degeyter, 64, all of Lafayette, were sentenced July 10, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. Co-defendants Denease Curry, 49, of Broussard, and Elaine Crump, 62, of Lafayette, were also sentenced by Foote July 10, 2015 on one count of misprision of a felony for failure to report bribes offered and received by employees of the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Haynes received one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Williams, Degeyter, Curry and Crump received two years of probation. Additionally, Williams and Degeyter were sentenced to six months of home confinement. Hanyes, Williams and Curry are former employees of the District Attorney’s Office. Degeyter and Crump are former employees of Acadiana Outreach.

The FBI and the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Robert C. Abendroth prosecuted the case.


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