CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury voted Tuesday to set the record straight regarding an organization's standing as the legal housing authority for the parish.
Jurors said The People's Workshop, headed by George Turner, never has had the jury's permission to represent itself as the parish housing authority, despite a Nov. 4, 2008, letter from jury President Louis Kent suggesting otherwise.
Juror Chris Hall, who pushed for the clarification, said the letter does not reflect the jury's action regarding Turner's request for recognition of his organization. The minutes say the jury supported Turner's effort to incorporate.
"The letter does not reflect the minutes," Hall said.
The jury's motion also requests Turner stop representing his group as the parish housing authority.
Hall said Turner has mentioned the letter in a federal lawsuit targeting the jury's white members and other officials alleging discrimination in responding to the August 2016 flood. Turner also said in a recent email that, as the head of the housing authority, the parish's ordinances do not apply to his efforts to subdivide property on Turner Lane in Ethel.
The parish Planning and Zoning Commission has turned down the request.
Homeland Security Director Joseph Moreau also said Turner presented the letter in attempting to get him and state officials to persuade the School Board to donate land for housing after the 2016 flood, while Joe Howell, who serves on a citizens' flood relief committee, said Turner also has presented the letter to his group.
Jurors said their action was not intended to rescind the letter but to declare that the jury has never recognized Turner's authority to speak for the parish on housing matters.
On another matter, the jury voted to raise Parish Manager Sonya Crowe's pay by $3 per hour, to $35.95 per hour. Hall said Crowe requested the pay increase when several jurors met with her in October to talk her into staying in the post.
Crowe said at the time that she was taking a job in West Feliciana Parish but later changed her mind.
Jurors complimented Crowe several times for her recent efforts to organize the jury's budgeting process and office routine.
Moreau also reported that a series of contentious meetings with state and federal officials have resulted in the Federal Emergency Management Administration agreeing to put up about $2.5 million to rebuild 11 gravel roads heavily damaged by last year's flooding and do partial repair work on 16 more roads.
The parish also may be in line for about $2.5 million more for repair or replacement of several bridges damaged by the floods.
The jury also voted to disqualify Dudley & Sons, of Slaughter, as a responsive bidder on a project to replace the roof of the parish jail. The firm offered to do the work for $116,213, but Dudley neglected to include his address or state contractor's license number on his bid envelope and did not comply with two other bid requirements.
The jury awarded the contract to Home and Commercial Maintenance Builders LLC for $139,900.
Crowe said the work must be complete by Jan. 19 for the jury to receive FEMA funds for the project.