Emmett Gibbs named as Jackson Parish Police Jury Secretary / Treasurer

After five months of careful consideration the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ)  has finally filled the position of Secretary / Treasurer. The announcement that Emmett Gibbs had accepted the position came immediately after the regularly scheduled meeting of the JPPJ held at the Charles H Garrett Community Center on Tuesday.

During the meeting, board members Todd Culpepper, Amy Magee, Lynn Treadway, John McCarty, Tarneshala “Niki” Cowans and Regina Rowe agreed to accept the recommendation of the Policy and Pesonnel Committee to offer the position to Candidate A, as it was listed on the Agenda. Lewis Chatham was not present. 

Once finalized, the call was made acknowledging the choice to which Gibbs agreed to start August 1, 2022  to complete the term ending 12/31/2023 and under the the customary probationary period of 60 days. According to a statement made, only an extension of the terms of the unexpired contract that came open following the resignation of fomer Secretary/Treasurer Gina Thomas, can be offered until completed where at that time a new contract can be issued.  

Gibbs will take over the Secretary / Treasurer position for the JPPJ after serving as Clerk and Treasurer for the City of Ruston since 2005. Before that, the 1976 Louisiana Tech Graduate was the Finance Director and a Financial Analyst for the City of Monroe from 1998 – 2005. The meeting opened with the JPPJ adopting the following two Ordinances by roll call vote.

In a corresponding move it was agreed by the narrowest of margins to terminate at the end of this month the temporary setup pay schedule that has been in place since the end of February for those who were taking on added responsibilities now that a Secretary / Treasurer is set to begin the first of August.

Discussion found Juror’s on both sides of the option. 

“I am making a motion that instead of terminating the pay we continue this until the end of the 60 day probationary period,” said Culpepper. “This way if the candidate needs help in getting his feet on the ground the people assisting will be compensated for it. ” 

The motion died from lack of a second prompting Juror Rowe to make a motion to move ahead with the pay determination.

“I feel just the opposite,” said Rowe. “We have taken five months to choose a candidate and I feel that candidate will be qualified and able to do the work the position requires right from the start and should need no assistance.”

When it came to a vote, Jurors Rowe and Magee voted to end the pay, while Jurors Culpepper and Cowans voted to not terminate the pay. Juror, John McCarty. abstained leaving the final tiebreaking decision to President Lynn Treadway who voted to terminate the pay beginning at the end of July.

When it came to adopting the 2022 tax millage rates or advancing $5,000.00 to the Hodge Fire Protection District (HFPD) for emergency funds, as recommended by the Finance Committee, things hit a snag.

“With the way things are today, I can not give my support to any motion that would involve increasing taxes on our residents,” said District 3 Juror Amy Magee upon learning that the proposed new millage was higher than last year and contained several areas of increase.

District 6 Juror, Regina Rowe, was also against moving forward with adopting the millage rate for the fiscal year 2022-23. 

“I would like to learn more on why these areas are shown to have an increase in rates,” said Rowe. “I would also like to hear what our Tax Assessor says about this.”

In regard to the request made by the HFPD for the “emergency” money, the decision was tabled as well but only after lengthy discussion. 

“I am not against giving them the money, especially since this is supposed to be a loan,” said Culpepper referring to the statement that the money would be repaid through witholding the same amount form the Fire Insurance Rebate expected later this year. “What I am against is year after year applying a band aid to their problems and never seeing anything positive result from it. There seems to be no plan in place for this district.” 

Juror John McCarty commented as well. 

“I can’t see giving them any money when it is being reported that the district isn’t even responding to calls at times,” said McCarty. 

The session began with the Jurors adopting the pair of following Ordinances. 

(1`) Ordinance 01-07192022: Authorize the acceptance of credit cards for the payment of permits, fines, fees, and services and establishing a service charge (convenience fee) for credit card use
(2) Ordinance 02-07192022: Provide funding to the Jackson Parish Museum and Fine Arts Association for calendar year 2022.

In final actions, the Juror members agreed to transfer the OEP director position to under the umbrella of the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Department effective August 1, 2022. It was also decided that the Police Jury would wait until receiving an updated list of all the areas that current OEP and Operations Manager Brad Roller is active in before making any final determinations on what fund his salary would be paid from. 

It was also agreed to approve the amended Library Budget as recommended by the Library Board and
approve the plans for the new park project at the Jonesboro Branch of the Jackson Parish Library. The Convention Center was approved to be used by the LSU Ag Center and to be location of court proceedings during the time that the Jackson Parish Courthouse is being renovated. 

A notice of a meeting to be held on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 5:15 PM to consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling for an election to authorize the renewal of an ad valorem tax therein was announced prior to the meeting being adjourned.  

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