Questions have arisen in regard to the legality of the Jonesboro Board of Alderman’s override of Mayor Leslie Thompson’s veto of the hiring of a part time Jonesboro Police Department officer. The debate is over the amount of time that a town council has to give before they can officially override a veto that was made by a Mayor.
At the March 9th, regularly scheduled meeting of the Jonesboro Board of Aldermen, Police Chief James “Spike” Harris addressed the council members about hiring Sketea Walker as a part time deputy to replace a full time officer who had been called to active duty by the US Armed Forces. As it was perceived that the move would not cause an increase in funds allocated for the Police Department payroll, the move was approved. Mayor Thompson then vetoed the move within the allowed three days after the meeting, citing that the Police Department was already over budget and that no funds to hire additional personnel could be allocated when they were already over their financial threshold. On March 16th a special session was called by the Board, where they voted to override the Mayor’s veto and allow the new officer to be put to work.
While the legality of the move is still in question, according to the opinion rendered by Jonesboro City Counsel, Doug Stokes, in a letter that was sent to Mayor Thompson, in general terms the override can only be done at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Aldermen. This is detailed in Louisiana Revised Statute 33.406 (A)(3) Subsection C (3), which states that “An ordinance vetoed by the Mayor shall be considered again by the Board of Aldermen at it’s next regularly scheduled meeting after the veto.”
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Aldermen is slated for April 12th.