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Busy Port Allen council addresses police spending, HR policies, more

Busy Port Allen council addresses police spending, HR policies, more
Photo provided by staff
Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 5:04am

Port Allen's city council is making up for lost time.

While Deedy Slaughter was mayor, members spent so much time fighting with her that they did not get a lot done. Wednesday they considered more than 20 proposals that they felt the city needed to take care of.

"It takes a lot of working together, and I think the council has done that," interim mayor Lynn Robertson said after the meeting. "And I really appreciate their help, and the staff, as well."

Among the business they completed, the council members promoted city employees, hired a law firm to re-write the city employee handbook, hired a police officer, and opened spots for two more.

The council voted to introduce several ordinances related to issues that either came up because of former mayor Deedy Slaughter, or that she vetoed during her 11 months in office.

"The council really worked with us to get this stuff done, and it's another step in getting the city ready for the next mayor," Robertson said.

Some of the biggest issues involved the manner in which Port Allen conducts its business. During Slaughter's time in office, she caused controversies for the way she hired and fired city workers, the way she spent money, and the way salaries were set for city leaders. Wednesday night, the council started re-writing the ordinances that cover those topics, including requiring two people to sign every check that leaves City Hall.

"We wanted people, the public, to know how personnel issues are handled, how checks are signed, and it's just a way to let the public know that we are trying to keep the government as transparent as we can," Robertson stated.

Wednesday was a good night Police Chief Esdron Brown. Aside from getting the new officers, he got the council to support a budget amendment that would provide additional money to pay for six new, fully-loaded 2015 Chevy Tahoes. The council included $180,000 for the vehicles in the 2013-14 budget, but Brown initially said he would need $32,000 more.

"Through some shopping around and some other tightening up the purse strings," Councilman Hugh "Hootie" Riviere stated, "Chief got it down to $10,182."

The budget amendment and the updated ordinances must be voted on during the March 12 council meeting before they can take effect. Brown stated that, if they funding is approved, it would take less than two months for the new vehicles to arrive and be ready for use.

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