Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Police Jury’ Category

Durrett Elected LPPJ Prez, Melton VP

01/13/2021

District Three’s Richard Durrett was last night unanimously elected President of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury. Likewise unanimously elected as Vice President was District Ten’s Milton Melton.

Durrett was nominated by District One’s Theresa Wyatt and seconded by District Twelve’s Annette Straughter. Melton was nominated by District Eight’s Skip Russell and seconded by District Eleven’s Sharyon Mayfield.

There were no other nominees for either position.

Elected last November in a special election, Durrett is no stranger to LPPJ’s workings. He served as Parish Administrator for 17 years, from 1989 to 2006. He is a civil engineer by vocation, graduating from LA Tech in 1964.

Durrett thanked outgoing President Joe Henderson (District Nine) for serving.

Said Durrett, “I want to thank Joe for serving last year, and the job he’s done, and I look forward to working with everybody on the jury, as well as the people in the parish, and hope that I can contribute. Truly it’s an honor that I appreciate – I’ll try to do the best job that I can.”

Administrator Doug Postel was reappointed for another year, but when Treasurer Chris Hyde’s two-year appointment was considered, the matter was tabled with no discussion until next month’s jury meeting.

This was a marked difference from the tone at last month’s jury meeting where the two were publicly evaluated. Hyde was almost unanimously praised on his job performance, while Postel received significant criticism.

Stay tuned until next month.

The jury granted final approval of the 2021 budgets for the jury and the Lincoln Parish Library, and reappointed Richard Aillet to the Board of Commissioners for Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1.

During the Parks, Recreation & Tourism Committee Meeting, Chair Glenn Scriber reported on a proposed archery course for the Lincoln Parish Park.

Scriber said he envisioned a series of 3D archery targets on a 10 acre section in the northwest corner of the park, with sponsors providing funding for the equipment, and volunteers providing manpower.

Competitive archery is a growing sport, and would significantly increase park traffic, Scriber said.

The committee voted unanimously to proceed with creating a study group to do more planning.

The Health & Welfare Committee heard from Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Deputy Rob Sasser.

Most of the problems he encounters are a result of dogs running loose, he said. He recommended that the parish’s ordinances be updated to reflect the growth of the parish, and the corresponding reduction in open, rural area.

The jury voted to proceed with drafting a comprehensive plan to address the issue, along with funding estimates to carry out the plan.

On hand for the committee meeting was City of Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury to Meet Tuesday

01/10/2021

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will hold its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton.

Here are the agendas.

Committee meetings begin at 5:15 PM.

GWOWWD Generators Arrive

01/08/2021

Emergency generators for two water wells of the Greater Ward One Waterworks District arrived this morning and are being installed.

One will be located at the well on the corner of Burgessville Road and Haddox Road, and the other will be at the Douglas Road/Burgessville Road water tank well. Concrete pads, electrical switchgear, and wiring to connect the generators had been prepared ahead of time last fall.

The eleven hundred customers of the district were without water for a time in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura last August.

Theresa Mason Appointed Interim Library Director

01/07/2021

Materials Management head Theresa Mason was yesterday afternoon appointed Interim Director of the Lincoln Parish Library by that agency’s Board of Control. She will serve until a new director can be hired.

The board voted 8-1 for Mason, with Charles Penuell voting no. Penuell had suggested that Assistant Director Jeremy Bolom would be a better pick.

Said Penuell, “I think we have an ideal candidate who’s been the assistant, who has the experience, who has the education, who has connections around the state – and I think Jeremy would be the candidate for interim.”

Board member Amy Miller said that the library’s staff was complimentary of Mason.

Said Miller, “The staff, a majority of them spoke highly of her. I was impressed.”

Miller went on to make the motion to hire Mason, with a second by Sandra Dupree.

There was discussion by Board Chair Augusta Clark that the interim wouldn’t be allowed to apply for the permanent job. In subsequent discussion, it was noted that there was no written policy in that regard.

Mason, however, would likely not apply for the permanent job, as she currently doesn’t meet the requirements to be a permanent library director.

It appears that the hiring process will be rather involved. According to the State Library of Louisiana, a director must meet certain qualifications.

The director of any public library in Louisiana must by certified by the State Board of Library Examiners. To be eligible for certification, a candidate must have:

  • A baccalaureate degree,
  • A master’s degree of library science from an ALA accredited library school,
  • Three years of appropriate executive experience, after receiving the master’s degree, and
  • Met CE requirements as established by the State Board of Library Examiners.

The examination includes both oral and written components and covers aspects of public library service such as organization and administration, financial operations, and standards for library service.

Here’s the legislation (LA RS 25:222) creating the board of library examiners:

§222.  State board of library examiners; creation; members, appointment, and terms of office; duties; examinations of applicants; fee for examination and certificate

A.  There is created a State Board of Library Examiners to be composed of three members, all of whom must be experienced and trained librarians, appointed and chosen by the Board of Commissioners of the State Library of Louisiana for a term of four years who shall serve without pay.  The members of the board shall meet and organize and elect one chairman and a secretary.  The board of library examiners shall have authority to establish rules and regulations for its government and prescribe examinations, qualifications, conditions, and requirements for those seeking certificates or permits to practice the profession of librarian.  The board shall hold at least one examination a year for the purposes of examining applicants for certificates as librarians at the office of the state library in Baton Rouge and may hold other examinations at other places in the state as may suit the convenience of the board and the applicants.

B.  All applicants for the certificates as librarian shall be required to deposit and pay to the State Library of Louisiana a fee of five dollars; if the applicants are successful in the examination, they will be given a certificate by the board of examiners.  All fees collected by the board shall be turned over by it to the State Library of Louisiana to defray the incidental expenses for certificates, traveling expenses, stationery, postage, and the like.

Acts 1991, No. 938, §2.

There’s even a handbook for library directors. Much of the language in the handbook parallel the classic definitions of a guild or trade union.

Library Board to Meet This Afternoon

01/06/2021

The Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control will meet in a special called session at 4:00 PM today (Wednesday, January 6, 2021) at the Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton Street.

The single listed item on the agenda is: “Discuss and recommend Interim Director Lincoln Parish Library.”

Library Board Accepts Director’s Retirement

12/31/2020

After a contentious 75 minute discussion of Lincoln Parish Library Director Vivian McCain’s character and professional competence, the library’s Board of Control voted unanimously to accept her letter of retirement, effective at the close of business today. The board met in a special called meeting late yesterday afternoon at the Library Events Center.

As the meeting began, a motion was made to amend the agenda and remove the character/competence language from the discussion, but it failed when board member Charles Penuell voted no. Unanimous approval is required to amend public meeting agendas in Louisiana.

McCain plainly wanted the discussion to be held, asking, “You only want to discuss the letter of retirment – you do not want to tell me even today why this is happening?” Board member David Gullatt said that was correct. Penuell added that he voted against the motion so that the discussion would be carried out.

A second agenda item was added to discuss/take action on McCain’s letter.

Harriet Jones made a public comment at this point, saying she was a frequent library patron, and that the controversy was badly handled by the board.

Said Jones, “When I heard she was resigning, I just had to express my opinion.” She added, “I would hope this board would respectfully decline Mrs. McCain’s resignation.”

A motion and second was made to go into executive session, and was passed. However, McCain said she wanted the discussion public.

Board Chair Augusta Clark listed four points that were problem areas with McCain’s performance: board relations, fiscal responsibility, staffing issues, and planning issues. Clark noted that McCain was an “at will” employee, and never had a contract.

Clark charged McCain with creating a “toxic relationship” with the board.

“She appears to do as she wishes, with no intention of making the board part of the operational process,” she said.

McCain replied, “Mrs. Jones, you were quite right – I will be dragged through the mud with some very harsh statements that are completely bald-faced lies.”

One major point of contention was a request for recent meeting minutes. Clark and Gullatt both alleged that when they asked for the minutes of the November and December meetings, McCain refused to provide them.

Said Gullatt, “We asked for all these minutes that she has not done to be formulated. When Dr. Clark asked for the minutes, Vivian’s reply was ‘you’re not getting them.'”

McCain replied vociferously, “You are lying!”

Penuell was the only board member to defend McCain.

He said he had received many calls supporting McCain. “One constituent said that we should be honoring her with a Vivian McCain award in excellence in leadership.”

Penuell continued, saying that the board interfered with McCain’s operation of the library. “She has been treated abominably by members of the board,” he said.

With that, Penuell left the meeting and said he would see them at the January meeting. Asked to stay by Clark, he said, “I’m not interested in staying in this environment.”

Another issue mentioned was excessive personnel turnover. No actual statistics were cited, but Gullatt opined that 10 to 15 staff had left within the past year.

Board member Deborah Holliman was also critical of McCain.

She said, “This year, we’ve gone off the rails. We have seen a marked difference in our ability to work with Vivian.”

Library Director On Board Agenda

12/29/2020

A special called meeting of the Lincoln Parish Library’s Board of Control has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 30, Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton.

The single action agenda item is listed thus: “Discuss the character and professional competence of the Lincoln Parish Library Director and take action, if necessary.”

The meeting begins at 4:00 PM.

Canterbury Appointed to Library Board

12/16/2020

On a unanimous vote of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, retired Lincoln Schools Librarian Jan Canterbury was appointed to the Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control at last night’s meeting.

Canterbury thanked the jurors for the appointment and promised to do her best for all concerned.

“I will be very respectful of the police jury, the library board, and the residents, the people of this parish,” she said. “I’ll be fair, I’ll be faithful, I’m going to put some common sense into it. I want it to work,” Canterbury added.

Earlier in the meeting, during the public comments period, a discomfited Dr. Augusta Clark questioned the appointment procedure. Clark is president of the library board.

Said Clark, “Board members have not met the replacement, nor have we had the opportunity to interview her before the appointment.” She added, “One cannot help but think that the trust of the public, and the police jury, and the library board is eroded when the saga continues.”

Clark went on to say the appointment process should be formally modified, so that any new appointments would be approved by the other sitting board members.

The jury also called a public hearing for the January 2021 meeting date to allow public input for the jury’s 2021 budget. This will include the library budget that agency proposed Monday night.

The jury’s Personnel/Benefits Committee met earlier to discuss the Tracy Calloway complaint against Parish Administrator Doug Postel. The hour and fifteen minute executive session took no action, and committee chair Hazel Hunter said that no further discussion or action was likely.

Library Budget Trimmed For Second Time

12/15/2020

Yesterday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control was the second special meeting in less than a week, with both of them enacting budget cuts. This, after the 12/4/20 defeat of the library’s main source of funding, a 5.85 mil parishwide property tax.

Last Wednesday, the board cut about 8%, and yesterday another 9% was trimmed.

Prior to the election, the library had planned on spending about $2.47 million for 2021, a $200 thousand increase over the 2020 figure of $2.27 million.

See that budget document.

Last Wednesday, the proposed 2021 spending was pared back to $2.27 million, and yesterday another $270 thousand was cut, to a total of just over $2.0 million. Slightly more than half of that reduction was in the salaries and wages category.

See here the document.

Parish Treasurer Chris Hyde said they had input from several board members, and that the wage/salary reductions would be accomplished by not filling vacancies.

Said Hyde, “We’re not going to cut anybody. We can work around staffing our library without filling those vacated positions.”

The revised budget will be considered at tonight’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.

Library Payroll Detailed

12/13/2020

There are thirty-three employees on the Lincoln Parish Library payroll, Lincoln Parish News Online has learned. This, according to documents obtained via a public records request late last week.

See here the document.

The 2020 hourly pay scale ranges from the Library Director @ $43.92/hr to Shelver @ $8.67/hr. Those pay rates do not include retirement benefits and insurance paid on the employee’s behalf.

According to budget documents dated 11/23/2020, the amended, or final, budget for 2020 showed salaries and wages totaling about $963 thousand. Retirement benefits were about $93 thousand, and health/dental insurance premiums paid for the employees were about $296 thousand.

The total benefits of $389 thousand is about 29% of the total $1.35 million in employee compensation.

Most of the employees are full-time, it appears.

The total of the hourly rates is $502.45. Multiplying that figure times the number of working hours in a year (52 wks x 40 hrs/wk = 2080) results in a total of $1.05 million, a number that is only about 9% greater than the actual $963 thousand listed in the budget.

The amended 2020 expenditures total about $2.27 million for all library expenses.