By Edwin Crayton
Spring brings fresh changes. April is a key month this spring for citizens concerned about seeing change on a community board that cannot account for what it did with $19,500. As I have previously reported, the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation (NCIF) has admitted that it cannot account for what happened to $19,500 in funds designated for the public. Naturally, this has caused concern among members of the public. Now the public will have an opportunity to do something about that concern. The board is supposed to elect five new members at its second quarterly meeting on Tuesday, April 9, at 7pm, First Baptist Amulet. The meeting is open to members of the public. The replacement of the board members is overdue. That’s because the terms of five board members actually expired as of January 2019. The five members whose terms have expired are Chairman Leo Walker, Vice President Kelvin Porter, Ed Ward Jr., Diane Blake Jones, and Billy Sue Johnson.
The term limits section (Section 3.3) of the bylaws of NCIF state that the board members must vacate their positions for a year before they can be re-elected. Yet despite this clear rule, all five were voted back in at the January meeting. The board claimed that they did not have enough members to conduct business because they also claim not enough qualified people applied. Yet, that reasoning itself is not true or valid, according to the group’s own bylaws. The bylaws state that only eight people are required to do business for NCIF. If five left the 15-member board that would still leave 10—a functioning board. More than enough to meet quorum. So it seems clear that the five expired members are not needed and should go off the board without delay and really in fact, have no legitimate claim on the seats. However, the public has a role to play too. Those five board seats are now open to all citizens of the City of Natchitoches who meet a few simple qualifications. To apply a citizen must simply be 21 or older, live in the City of Natchitoches and not have a felony conviction. According to the bylaws, nominations should be sent to Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation, P.O. Box 606, Natchitoches, LA 71458. If you know of people interested in serving have your church, or community group, nominate them now. It’s a solid opportunity to make an impact on the area because the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation is court-ordered to distribute 1.8 million dollars to the people of Natchitoches in the areas of education, economic development, housing and recreation. For additional information call 1-318-623-2466.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” –James 4:17
By Edwin Crayton