Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Jury ousts ex-chief

Resigned Springhill Fire Protection District 11 Chief David Camp was ousted from the E-911 board at Tuesday's Webster Parish Police Jury meeting.

"We sent Mr. Camp a letter and gave him 10 days to resign," WPPJ President Charles Walker said. "He has not and we the jury want to go ahead and replace him on that E-911 board."

Camp resigned as FPD 11 chief in February after alleged illegal and inappropriate spending practices but still remained on the E-911 board. Tina Camp signed for WPPJ's March 9 letter on March 12 and no response was given by the March 22 deadline.

Minden Fire Department Chief Kip Mourad was tapped to fill in the remaining nine months of Camp's term.

Due to other alleged fiduciary misconduct at two FPDs, WPPJ attorney and assistant District Attorney Patrick Jackson recommended the jury take action to stave off further issues.

"We have some very good examples of some boards that are functioning in every way positive," Jackson said. "I would like to recommend to the jury that it's always good to learn from the mistakes of others and ensure that we stay ahead of potential problems that may surface."

Jackson recommended that an ordinance be prepared for May's WPPJ meeting, with the advice of existing experienced board members, that would establish minimum requirements for FPD board appointees. He also suggested that existing board appointees be trained in the legal operation of such public bodies.

District 5 juror Perry Kirkland suggested that consistent bylaws also be created across all FPDs. Jackson said that would be addressed as well.

As discussed during last week's workshop meeting, budgetary issues were also addressed with a new policy that makes municipalities responsible for the full bill for roadwork done within their borders.

The policy gives Minden and Springhill a potential $16,000 per year in assistance. The smaller municipalities are eligible for $8,000. The municipalities must pay for any work done beyond those amounts.

District 3 juror Daniel Thomas spoke against the policy.

"I only get one vote here," Thomas said. "We're voting on this, and we don't know what the cost is. When you use the word 'cost' it's a big word. It's what it really cost you."

Thomas went on to explain that he didn't believe the policy would save much money for the jury but would place a significant new burden on the smaller municipalities.

Sarepta mayor E. L. Edwards spoke to the jury, saying he hopes the new policy would only be temporary.

"I'm thankful for the work the police jury has done over the years," Edwards said. "I hope down the road you will take in consideration to reduce the charges to help municipalities out, because our income is limited."

District 1 juror Bruce Blanton, District 2 juror Allen Gilbert, District 8 juror Charles Odom and Thomas voted against the policy.

In the past, WPPJ crews and equipment were provided at no cost to municipalities.

Cooperative endeavors

A second policy laying out responsibilities in cooperative endeavors between WPPJ and other governmental bodies was also a concern for Thomas and Blanton, because it also requires the other agency to pay the entire project cost. Both voted against the policy.

Culvert policy

A culvert installation policy for municipalities was formalized but did not change traditional guidelines.

In a bid to make budget cuts from the top down, Thomas called for a meeting to be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the third floor WPPJ conference room for the purpose of discussing reducing the number of jurors who serve on WPPJ. The meeting was approved.

Other business:

Shongaloo FPD 9 boundaries were amended to include the Village of Shongaloo.

Evergreen FPD were approved to hold an election for the renewal of a 10-year, 10-mil tax on November 6.

Homeland Security's 2012 All Hazard Emergency Operation Plan for Webster Parish was approved.

The speed limit on the dead end Pine Street (off of Diamond T) was set at 20 miles per hour.

Work on a state grant funded vehicle maintenance shed building pad for Community Services on parish property was approved.

Wildlife and Fisheries was approved to put in a federal grant funded public fishing pond at their Camp Minden facility.

Side cutter work in Shongaloo was approved.

Cleaning of ditches on Palmer Street in Sarepta was approved.

The naming of West Cliff Keene Road (off of Dorcheat Road) was approved, with Blanton and Thomas voting against.

A cooperative endeavor with LSU AgCenter for use of parish lands as a shooting sports center was temporarily approved. This allows WPPJ to proceed with investigation of liability and other specifics of the land's use.

Doyline High School and Courtney Machen were given a resolution of appreciation for a community service project that provided Doyline with Christmas decorations.

The Masonic Lodge of Springhill was recognized for its impending 100th anniversary.

April was declared Webster Parish Fair Housing Month.






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