Charlie Walker, the longtime president of the Webster Parish Police Jury, announced he would step down from the position at January's regularly scheduled meeting.
"I want to thank all of the people who have supported me over the last 13 years I have been president of the jury," he said at the close of Tuesday's board meeting. "I'm sure you will give the new president all of the same support I was so lucky to enjoy."
Citing health reasons as well as "just being worn out," Walker felt the time was right to step down and let someone else lead the jury.
"It's time," he said simply.
Walker, who represents Doyline's District 12, was elected to the jury in 1992. A few years later, he was elected by his fellow jurors to serve as president of the parish governing body. The jurors have reelected him annually ever since.
Walker will continue to represent his district, as he is only stepping down from the presidency and not as District 12's juror.
"I always want to give credit where credit is due," he said, looking around the jury chambers. "I want to give credit to people like Ronda Carnahan and Teddy Holloway. They make the good things happen, not me."
Carnahan is the secretary-treasurer of the jury. Holloway serves as public works director.
A new president will be elected at the jury's January 8 meeting.
In other business:
The jury appointed Mary Whitaker to serve as executive director of Webster Parish Office of Community Services.
"There were several well-qualified applicants," District 10 Juror Vera Davidson said. "However, there was one individual that possessed all of the qualifications we were seeking, and that was Mrs. Whitaker."
Whitaker is the former director of Webster Parish Head Start, a program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.
As community services director, Whitaker will be responsible for the overall administration of the agency and serve as the representative of the police jury.
She will be responsible for management of funds, departments, employees, budget strategy, delivery of services and final authority of all aspects of the office.
Juror Jim Bonsall said he was pleased with Whitaker's appointment and also pleased with the number of qualified applicants.
"There were so many good applicants," he said. "I just wanted to make special mention of the quality of candidates we had to choose from."
Other appointments included:
Gary Greene to a one-year term on the Webster Parish Fire Prevention District #10.
Bernard Hudson to a two-year term on the Webster Parish Fire Prevention District #10.
Daniel Davidson to replace Johnny Herman, who resigned from Webster Parish Fire Prevention District #10.
Kim Gillespie to fill the unexpired term of Bryan Montgomery, who resigned, on Springhill Fire District #11.
Reappoint Flo Sessions to a five-year term on the Webster Parish Library Board.