“Unity in the Community” was the theme that new Mayor James “Spike” Harris conveyed to the Town of Jonesboro Board of Aldermen and those in attendance at the inaugural regularly scheduled 2023 meeting of the Town Council that was held on Tuesday, January 10th at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center in Jonesboro.
Initial approval of the message was then portrayed by board members Devin Flowers, James Ginn, Robert Hunter, Nia Evans-Johnson, and Robbie Siadek through their ratification of Harris’s recommendations for various administrative positions and department heads.
Ratified for service were: J.L. (Janice) Jones as Town Clerk, Kasey Belton as Tax Collector, Jimmy Teat as Town Attorney, Yumeaka Washington as Town Court Magistrate, Carl Johnson as interim Public Works Director, Nia Evans-Johnson as Mayor Pro-Tem and Wayne Anderson Jr. as Compliance Officer
Mayor Harris then introduced his administrative team at City Hall and identified their respective duties.
Geraldine Dailey – Billing and Municipal Court proceedings
Kasey Belton – Tax Collector (re-appointed)
Terri Dill – Water Department clerk
Pam Brown – Public Works and City Hall duties
Wendy Davis – Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and other financial duties
Harris then announced that he had entered into a three-month agreement with Kenneth Folden & Company to handle the town’s accounting followed by Timeka Rushing being approved by the council to be hired as a part-time Dispatcher for the Jonesboro Police Department per the recommendation of the new Police Chief Israel Smith.
Before interim Fire Chief Aaron Blaylock, Police Chief Israel Smith, and interim Public Works Director Carl Johnson gave their Department Head reports, Town Engineer Brad Graff, spoke to the council about the ongoing Water Tank Project that is being done on the Water Chest located behind the Jonesboro Police Department.
The meeting began with Public Comments by Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce Director, Wilda Smith, pledging support for the new administration and looking forward to working together in unison for the betterment of Jonesboro and Jackson Parish.
This was followed by former Jonesboro Fire Chief Brandon Brown asking why his termination as Fire Chief wasn’t brought before the Town Council as per the Lawrason Act? Mayor Harris replied that he was not terminated but offered another position three times which he turned down which in his opinion was a resignation and the Lawrason Act does not require an appointment of the Fire Chief to be brought before the town council. Brown countered that when he asked Harris if he had been terminated, Harris replied “Yes”. Harris replied again that he offered for Brown to remain as Compliance Officer and when he refused, he stated that he had to go. Brown started to reply again to which Harris stated that he wasn’t going to argue with him.
Harris then asked for any more public comments to which no one replied leading Harris to make an address to the audience.
“Look ladies and gentlemen we are not going to go back and forth with anyone. These are not going to be these types of meetings,” said Harris who continued. “If you are here for that you are going to be very, very disappointed. We are going to conduct these meetings in an orderly manner like they should. My office is open to anyone who wants to come down to discuss things with me in person before bringing it to a council meeting. Again if you are here for that you are not going to get it. Let’s move forward.”
The meeting concluded with comments from the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Harris.
To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE