Letter to the Editor: Citizen encourages public turnout at tonight’s LPPJ special meeting

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by John Kyte (Ruston Citizen)

The near-total dysfunction of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury has been on full display in recent weeks and months, including the recent termination of the Jury’s Administrator without a reason, so it is no wonder that the Police Jury is now considering bringing back a different former Administrator as an “interim.”

Reality is that after the unsubstantiated, personal and public attacks on the recently terminated Administrator, and the rancor within Police Jury members, it is going to be very hard to find a new, qualified Administrator to take the job permanently. 

Why would a qualified person want to work in a situation where the ax could fall any day, for any reason, or for no reason at all?

With staff morale at the Police Jury likely at a new low due to Jury leadership ignoring their pleas not to terminate their boss, it might be time to take a deep breath, let the interim Administrator try to restore some order and integrity, and not rush to find a new permanent Administrator.

In fact, with Police Jury elections coming up in October, it might be a smart idea to let the dust settle, conduct a thorough, transparent search, and let the new incoming panel of Jury members make an independent choice post-election.  This approach might help calm the roiled waters, increase the odds of getting qualified candidates interested, and restore some stability to Jury operations in 2023. 

Another stabilizing move would be to reappoint or reaffirm key Administration staff for 2023. This would send a positive message to the Jury’s 150 employees, and it is worth noting that, for example, in the event of a national disaster declaration, the Police Jury is in charge of emergency response activities Parish-wide. Having a stable and fully staffed operation would be critical to delivering an effective response.

Tonight the Police Jury Personnel Committee meets at 6 p.m. in their Conference Room at 100 West Texas Avenue, third floor, with bringing Mr. Courtney Hall back on the agenda, and then the full Police Jury meeting convenes at 6:30 p.m.

Given that the Police Jury’s spends $30 million of Parish taxpayer money annually, and that the activities of Jury leadership in recent months have been both secretive and subjective, Parish residents should turn out for the meeting tomorrow night to keep the spotlight on and ensure that Police Jury members act in the best interests of Lincoln Parish rather than their personal agendas.