CLINTON — With their re-elections assured, four East Feliciana Parish police jurors voted Tuesday to raise jurors’ pay by $331 a month, beginning in January. A juror that drew one re-election opponent joined them in voting for the pay hike.
An item to raise the jurors’ salaries had been on the agenda for two earlier meetings, but both times the item was scrubbed.
Jury President Dennis Aucoin, who is not seeking re-election, steered the proposal to a vote, with little discussion from the jury and no questions from the audience.
Aucoin said jurors had discussed raising the salary from $869 per month to $1,200.
“I know some of you are running for re-election and probably don’t want to do it, but if you don’t do it now, it’ll be four more years before you can vote yourself a raise,” Aucoin said.
Juror Dwight Hill noted that St. Helena Parish police jurors are receiving the maximum allowed by law, $1,600.
In West Feliciana Parish, the current seven members of the Parish Council receive $1,200, but the amount will drop to $800 a month in January, when another provision of West Feliciana’s home-rule charter takes effect, Hill said.
Hill, Ed Brooks, Sean Smith and Jason McCray, all of whom were re-elected without opposition at the close of qualifying Sept. 10, voted for the increase, along with Louis Kent, who faces an opponent in the Oct. 24 primary election.
Three other jurors who are opposed in the primary balloting — Keith Mills, Chris Hall and Larry Beauchamp — voted against the increase.
Aucoin, who does not vote except to break ties, broke a tie vote on the next motion, to raise the president’s salary supplement from $50 to $100 a month.
Hill voted with Beauchamp, Hall and Mills in opposing the president’s increase, while Brooks, McCray, Smith and Kent favored the increase.
On another matter, jurors voted to hire Baton Rouge attorney Patrick R. Jackson to represent them in an open-meetings lawsuit District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla filed against the jury and several individual jurors last month.
The engagement resolution calls for Jackson to be paid $250 an hour for his services.
Asked if any effort had been made to settle the suit, D’Aquilla said he is removing Aucoin as an individual party to the suit but he is reluctant to discuss a settlement with other jurors because they have no attorney.
But D’Aquilla said the suit can be settled.
“All the attorney has to do is pick up the phone, and we can get it resolved,” D’Aquilla said.