One thing I’ve learned about the old police jury system, it was a great training ground for those inclined to the robbing of Peter to pay Paul. Though it was unmercifully unethical, it became commonplace. You see, what the good ol’ boys learned and haven’t forgotten is that the Parish operates on multiple Funds. There’s the General Fund and there’s the Road District 40 Fund and others.
Under the police jury system, it was standard procedure to take money from the General and transfer it to the Road District 40 Fund before the end of the fiscal year. When the new year began, the money was ‘repaid’ from the Road fund to the General Fund, which left the current year strapped for funds again. They did this repeatedly for the past few decades. It is in violation of the State’s budgeting laws for municipalities and they were cited in the annual audit each and every time…but that’s another story.
Today, three former police jurymen sit on the five-member Council: Bedgood, Paige and Salter. These three have completed their “training” on the jury system and have now tried to infuse their brand of “Leadership” into the current Parish Council. You see, these guys know that the Road District 40 is broke, but their pay ($500 for meeting about an hour a month) comes from the GENERAL FUND, and they have decided that “post-election” would be a good time to ‘tap’ that fund for a pay raise ($1,200.00 per month – an increase of 140%!).
Though one of them is not returning to the Council, two of the three will be back at the trough for another term and, given the way the same group chose to end their final term on the jury, it is expected they will unite and show all the citizens of Natchitoches Parish “what they can accomplish in spirit of unity.” A spirit that is and has been a rarity on anything that might have benefitted those who placed them on the Council to begin with.
Finally, Moe, Larry and Curly have brought out their act once again in hopes they bring the house down, or at least the Parish Council down. Make no mistake, that is their goal. Oh, you probably won’t see the “Curly Shuffle” or Moe slapping Larry, but the name-calling, “Nitwit” and “Imbecile” will likely fit in perfectly.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Dennis Coleman. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Coleman and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal. If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.