SORRENTO — Nearly a week after the town eliminated funding for his salary, Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith is still reporting to work.
Smith, who asked in June to leave all patrol work to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and perform only departmental legal and administrative duties, spends his workday “sitting in his office,” Mayor Mike Lambert said after Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
Smith, who usually attends Town Council meetings, was not present at the meeting Tuesday. An email sent to his work account was not returned Tuesday night.
On July 22, the council drastically cut the funding for the Police Department. The amendment to the 2014-15 budget funds the department only through July 31 and eliminates Smith’s salary.
Lambert said Smith is no longer being paid.
The Sheriff’s Office patrols Sorrento 24 hours a day and deputies are paid $36 per hour for their work.
Whether Smith will continue to show up to the office without pay is unknown.
“Hopefully, there will be some completion to this at the next meeting,” Lambert said.
Smith is the only police officer within the department.
Former Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. resigned in February after pleading guilty to lying to an FBI officer, and the chief’s position has sat vacant since then.
In November, the Police Department lost its liability insurance for its officers and vehicles.
On Tuesday, the council agreed to reschedule the next Town Council meeting from Nov. 4 to Nov. 6 because Nov. 4 falls on Election Day.
That’s when Sorrento voters would elect a new police chief, if any candidate qualifies to run to fill the remaining three years of Theriot’s term. Qualifying is scheduled Aug. 20-22.
On that same ballot is a measure to abolish not only the elected position of police chief but the entire Police Department, as well.