CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury on Monday filled a vacancy of several months in its Inspection Department, but not without stirring a little controversy.
Jurors voted 6-1 with two members absent to hire Roger Powell as the jury's certified building inspector, but dropped the idea of hiring Jeffrey Williams as a building official.
Powell, hired at a pay rate of $25.31 per hour, replaces Larry Thompson in the position, which has been vacant since Thompson retired during the spring. Powell has state credentials as a certified building inspector. Don Simmons, who also has the necessary credentials, has been keeping up with building inspections on a contract basis.
The agenda for Monday's meeting said the Personnel Committee was recommending Powell's hiring but also that of Williams as an alternate. But committee chairman Edward Brooks only presented Powell's name, saying he was doing so after consulting with the district attorney.
"What happened?" Williams asked, saying the committee had voted to hire Powell and him.
Juror Sean Smith could not get a second to his substitute motion to hire Williams as an inspector and give him six months to get his state credentials.
Smith said Williams had agreed to pay for the schooling and tests needed to get approved by the state to inspect building construction.
Jurors said they will continue to use Simmons on a contract basis if Powell takes time off or the workload increases significantly in the future.
On another matter, Juror Dwight Hill was unable to get approval to install a culvert on Maglone Lane to allow a property owner to drive onto his land. Hill said the state dug a ditch on the parish road, where none had been before, to alleviate a drainage problem at the road's intersection with La. 412.
Hill said the ditch now blocks access to the property, but jurors only agreed to ask state highway officials to install a driveway culvert for the landowner.
Richard Oliveaux, who opposes Hill in the Oct. 12 election, asked the jury not to take any action, such as that requested by Hill, between now and the election.
"I can't promise nobody a culvert," Oliveaux said.