By J. R. “Randy” Stelly/Opinion
After watching the Parish Council meeting, I made the following observations:
Observation No. 1 – Chris Paige clearly thinks that you are stupid, that you don’t know how to read and that you can’t understand simple math. It is either that or Mr. Paige is a liar. I prefer to believe the latter! The most egregious lie of the night, which he couched as a wager, was that there are two people on Parish payroll whose salaries combined exceed 2 million dollars! I’m sorry, but anyone with even half a lick of sense should recognize that statement for the lie that it is. Even the good folks who seem determined to destroy our Parish by going back to a police jury form of government aren’t so gullible as to believe that lie! If you add up ALL of the salaries for the departments that the Parish Government has control over, you get $2,138,962!! And that includes the salaries for the Parish President and the Council members!
|Parish Council||$ 30,000.00|
|Parish President, Council Clerk, Executive Assistant, Parish Treasurer,
Purchasing Agent, HR/Coordinator, Accounts Payable Clerk
|Highway Department||$ 729,942.00|
|Solid Waste Department||$ 590,532.00|
|Government Buildings||$ 147,291.00|
|Health Department||$ 212,085.00|
|Planning & Zoning||$ 78,077.00|
Mr. Paige, I’ll gladly take you up on that bet!
Observation No. 2 – The good folks who live on rural roads have selective memories where the condition of their roads are concerned. Go back and read the minutes of old police jury meetings to refresh your memory if you must, but the roads in Natchitoches Parish have been deteriorating for over 30 years now!
Under the police jury form of government, there was a Highway Steering Committee. The Committee was comprised of Police Jurors who were responsible for studying “any issue, matter or proposal relating to the operation of the Parish Highway department and/or the Parish road system prior to same being acted upon by the police jury as a corporate body.”
At its June 18, 2012 meeting, the police jury, upon recommendation of the Steering Committee, voted to cancel all previous backlog Work Requests at the Parish Highway Department for the years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011!!! At that same meeting, Juror John Salter, who was the Parish Manager over the highway department, stated that “putting down gravel was about all the Jury could do in such a short time.”
THE ONLY THING THAT IS GOING TO FIX OUR ROADS IS MONEY!!!
Observation #3 – Another task of the Highway Steering Committee was the “approval for employment of persons recommended by the Director of Public Works for employment…”
The Parish employee who complained to the Council of being treated unfairly by the Parish Government started working for the police jury on June 18, 2012. Her recommendation for hiring wasn’t voted on and approved until the Council meeting was held at 4:00 p.m. that same day. The position she was hired for was not advertised and the highway department already had a secretary on staff. Why did the police jury find it necessary to create a job for this particular person? Could it be that Patsy Ward Hoover created the position for her? After all, the employee has been seen riding in the same vehicle as Mrs. Hoover in recent weeks and Mrs. Hoover, who was receiving an additional $400/month in pay, was the Assistant Parish Manager of the highway department at the time the employee was hired. If that is the case, Mrs. Hoover violated the Parish Code of Ordinances by using her position as a manager over the highway department and as a police juror to influence the Steering Committee’s selection and hiring of this particular person.
It’s time for the residents of this Parish to realize that people like Chris Paige, who is term-limited under the Home Rule Charter, only have use for us if we can help advance their personal agenda! It’s time to wake up and get educated!
The views and opinions expressed are 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.