Twenty years after coming onto the Webster Parish Police Jury, District 12 juror Charlie Walker found himself in a familiar place just minutes into Tuesday's meeting.
"This is the same spot I was in when I first came onto the jury in 1992," Walker said laughing and taking a seat at the far end of the horseshoe-shaped bench of the parish governing body.
Walker moved from the center spot on the bench following 13 years as police jury president. He handed over his presidential duties during Tuesday's monthly meeting to District 6 juror Jim Bonsall, who was unanimously chosen to succeed Walker as jury president.
Bonsall presented Walker a plaque of appreciation for his years of dedication and service to the citizens of Webster Parish.
"I hope I can do just half as good a job as you have done as jury president," Bonsall told Walker. "You are the only president most any of us have ever known since we have been on the jury."
Bonsall's remark was true, as only District 8 Juror Charles Odom remains on the board from before Walker became jury president in 2000.
Walker shook Bonsall's hand and then addressed his fellow jurors as well as the support staff in the audience.
"It's not hard to do good when you have good people with you," Walker said. He then turned back to Bonsall, "I tell you, Jim, to just remember the people you have with you. Look to your left [Secretary Treasurer Ronda Carnahan]. Look to your right [jury vice president Vera Davison]. Look over there in the corner [public works director Teddy Holloway]. Remember who you have to rely on."
Walker announced he would not return as president of the jury during December's meeting. However, he will remain on the board as District 12's jury representative. He has three more years on the current term.
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. He said Bonsall was the right person for the job.
"Jim will do a good job," he remarked.
Of his election, Bonsall said he was honored and appreciated the support and faith of his fellow jurors.
"I appreciate you putting me here," he said. "Since I have been on the board, I think this is the best group of jurors we have had. We have had good people come and go, but this is the best group as a whole."
In addition to Bonsall's election, the jury also unanimously re-elected District 10 juror Vera Davison as vice president.