LIVINGSTON — A bare quorum of the Livingston Parish Council on Thursday reappointed the Livingston town mayor to a board on which the council had voted to replace him just two weeks ago.
On Nov. 19, council Chairman Chance Parent recommended replacing Mayor Derral Jones on the parish’s 911 Communications District Board, saying he had received complaints that the panel, under the chairmanship of Sheriff Jason Ard, was overlooking some concerns of the parish’s fire districts.
But the firefighter Parent had selected to replace Jones resigned from the board this week. With Parent absent from the meeting, the council Thursday night voted to reappoint Jones.
Three other council members also were absent, leaving a bare but unanimous five-member quorum.
In a text message, Parent expressed his dissatisfaction with the change, saying, “Some politics were played and incredibly, someone resigned and the council has changed their minds? I only have a month left to be here. The people will have the government they elected.”
Six of the nine council members were defeated this fall in their re-election bids, and the other three decided not to seek re-election. The all-new, nine-member council will take office in January.
Parent’s defeat came at the hands of Jeff Ard, the sheriff’s brother, who took 69 percent of the vote on Oct. 24.
Jones, the Livingston mayor, had openly supported Jeff Ard in his campaign to unseat Parent. But Parent denied that the mayor’s political stance played a role in the decision to replace Jones on the communications board.
Jones’ term on the board expired Sept. 4, but Parent had continually tabled a vote on the reappointment until November.
Parent proposed appointing Trey Jackson, the deputy fire chief for Fire Protection District 4, to the board in Jones’ place. That Nov. 19 motion passed on a 7-0 vote, with council members Sonya Collins and Jim Norred absent.
Parent said after the meeting that night, some of the parish’s firefighters had voiced concerns about having less-experienced dispatchers assigned to handle their calls. Parent said he hoped Jackson’s appointment would give the fire districts a stronger voice on the communications board.
But Jackson resigned Dec. 1, writing in a letter to the Parish Council that he appreciated the consideration, “but at this time, for my family, for my department and for myself, I do not feel the timing is right.”
Councilwoman Cindy Wale Franz, who made the motion to reappoint Jones, said the mayor had done a lot for the communications board, particularly in terms of improving the district’s financial outlook.
Councilman Ricky Goff, who had stressed two weeks ago that he was voting to replace Jones “based on the chairman’s (Parent’s) recommendation,” said Thursday that he was “happily” supporting the mayor’s reappointment.
Council members Marshall Harris, Ronnie Sharp and Delos Blackwell were absent from Thursday night’s meeting. Blackwell and Sharp had joined Franz, Collins and Councilwoman Joan Landry in requesting the item be placed on Thursday night’s agenda.
Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen, and call her at (225) 336-6981.