Letter to the Editor: Citizen questions LPPJ mindset; calls for change

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By Bill Jones

The last Police Jury meeting was quite a spectacle.  By an 8 to 4 vote, the Jury voted to terminate Doug Postel as Administrator.  More than 100 Parish citizens, including many Parish employees, attended that meeting to show their support for Mr. Postel.  Fourteen speakers gave unqualified comments in support of Mr. Postel based on their personal experience with him; and nobody —absolutely nobody — spoke against Mr. Postel.

Before the vote, one Juror, Logan Hunt, asked the other members of the Police Jury to state any reasons they might have for not renewing Mr. Postel.  Not a single Juror responded to that question — not a single Juror gave any reason or justification for terminating Mr. Poste — dead silence was their response.  The eight jurors voted terminate him.

After the vote, KNOE news asked one Juror — Theresa Wyatt —whether the public deserved to know their reasons for their vote.  Her answer:  “They don’t really  need to know why.”

Seven other Jurors obviously agree with Ms. Wyatt, because none of them  gave any reason for voting to terminate Mr. Postel.

It’s time for a change at the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.

Police Jurors are elected by Lincoln Parish residents to represent them.  When jurors ignore the opinions of the people they represent, they betray the trust we have placed in them.

We have entrusted our Police Jurors with a big job.  Here’s some of what the Police Jury does: maintains hundreds of miles of roads; maintains scores of bridges; picks up solid waste outside city limits; runs a solid waste disposal facility; provides ambulance and rescue services to everyone living outside city limits; furnishes the facility for the Lincoln Parish Detention Center; operates the Lincoln Parish Park; furnishes the Courthouse and related buildings for state and local offices, including the Judges, District Attorney, Clerk of Court, Registrar of Voters and Tax Assessor; furnishes the building for the Parish Health Unit; furnishes the building and support for the Lincoln Parish Library; operates a sewage system for 350 residences in Southeast Lincoln Parish; operates the Humanitarian Enterprises of Lincoln Parish (“HELP”) which provides assistance to low-income citizens; and appoints members to many Lincoln Parish and state boards and commissions.  And in a national disaster, such as the tornadoes and hurricanes we’ve experienced in recent years, the LPPJ becomes is the lead agency for Parish disaster response

The annual budget for the Police Jury is more than $30 million, and in order to perform all these services, the Police Jury employs more than 150 people.

We’ve entrusted our Jurors with a lot — and eight of them tell us “we don’t really need to know why.”

We “don’t really need to know” their reasons behind how they maintain the roads and bridges that carry our school children?

We “don’t really  need to know” their reasons behind how they provide ambulance and rescue services?

We “don’t really need to know” their reasons behind how they treat the 150 people they employ, who are our family members, friends and neighbors?

We “don’t really need to know” their reasons for how they spend $30 million of our money each year?

I think we actually DO need to know — and we deserve to know — why the Police Jurors make their decisions. 

It’s time for a change at the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.

Bill Jones is a former Louisiana State Senator and a lifelong resident of Ruston.

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