A mayor and police chief ordered by a judge to resign following scandal. Criticism from a state prosecutor when the chief was reinstated. Now, the small town of Springfield in Livingston Parish is again under fire for its handling of the police department.
In a report issued this week, auditors wrote that no one keeps track of officers’ ticket books. “The Town does not have proper procedures to assure all tickets are returned and accounted for,” states the audit, prepared by Latuso and Johnson CPA, LLC.
The matter is especially remarkable given that chief Jimmy Jones agreed to step down last year when he pleaded guilty to trashing documents of a subordinate’s drunken driving arrest as a favor to a friend of former mayor Charlie Martin, who was also court-ordered to resign.
The town’s board of aldermen quietly reinstated Jones in December, arguing that doing so did not technically violate the terms of his plea deal. In the interim, the town appointed an acting chief, who quit in frustration. The assistant chief also left, to Martin’s obvious pleasure. When Jones returned, he was the sole member of the police department.
The recent audit also calls attention to other problems with the police department, including the unbudgeted purchase of a police vehicle costing $35,878, which was a factor in causing the town to overspend it’s budget. In their brief official responses, town management agreed with the auditors’ prescriptions to provide better oversight of the police department and possibly bring in someone to help them with their budgeting.
Advocate staff writer Steve Hardy contributed to this report