Parish Council clerk position reduced to part-time

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In a surprise move, the Parish Council voted to make the council clerk’s job part-time during the meeting Monday. Voting for the ordinance were Patsy-Ward Hoover, Jim Kilcoyne and John Salter. Voting against it were Marty Cheatwood and Chris Paige.

The ordinance was first introduced at the August meeting as an ordinance to amend the personnel manual to make the job part-time. It was set for a final vote at the September meeting when it was tabled. At the meeting Monday, Kilcoyne motioned to take the item from the table and put it back on the agenda. That vote was the same as the previous one. Paige, who has been against the ordinance from the start, told Kilcoyne that he needed a unanimous vote to put the item back on the agenda.

Kilcoyne said the ordinance was still in the minutes, after being tabled, and was still on the record. “It was on the table and now it’s off,” Kilcoyne said. He also said that the council had held a public meeting and all the requirements had been met for the council to vote on it. The clerk works for the Parish Council and is paid by Parish Government. Among the duties are correspondence for parish council members, compiling the agenda and taking minutes of meetings. The current salary is approximately $49,500 plus benefits and is a full-time position.

At the July meeting, Salter appointed Kilcoyne and Paige to a committee to look for money to put on roads. Kilcoyne said that after some study, he wrote the ordinance and thought making the job part-time would result in a savings of from $30,000 to $35,000 annually. Paige said that making the job part-time would impact the council in a negative way because constituents would no longer have a full-time point of contact. He wanted it known that the recommendation did not come from the committee because he was no longer a member. Paige said it was not right to change the job and there were bitter feelings in the community about it. In other business, Parish President John Richmond said that drainage work is completed in Payne Subdivision and asked for approval of a change order of $45,423 for a revised contract amount of $893,461.

The change order is for revising the base course on a portion of Cherie Loop; providing changes in roadside drainage resulting from conditions discovered during construction; and providing erosion protection for ditches and side-drain pipes where erosive soils exist. The council hired TCBT for auditing services for 2021. TCBT partner Jessica Broadway said the 2019 audit was completed with no material findings.

Because of decreasing inmate payments, Parish Government started 2021 with positive fund balances including:

•Highway department: $1.3 million

•Criminal court: $659,000

•Sales tax: $1.5 million

•Library: $3.1 million

•Health unit: $1.5 million

•Government buildings: $2.7 million

In his report, Richmond said that the project to restore Fish Hatchery Road will go out for bids, today, Thursday. Parish Engineer Nick Verret has completed the engineering including drainage and an outside company completed soil boring.

The council approved a resolution that will move the Ward 4, Precinct 8 polling place from its current location in the Flora Police Jury Building, across the parking lot, to the Flora Community Center. It is larger and will increase space for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The council confirmed the appointment of Greg Duggan to replace Darrell Roque on the Fire District 5 board.