The Brusly town council voted Monday, May 12, to make several changes to their police department following last month’s resignation of former chief Jamie Whaley and the appointment of Richie Johnson.
Whaley resigned after pleading guilty to a charge of malfeasance in office. The council appointed Johnson as the interim chief to serve until an election can be held in November to elect a chief that will serve out the remainder of Whaley original term, which lasts through 2016.
The council agreed to appoint Paul Marionneaux as the new assistant chief, who will take the position at no pay, as he also works for the WBR Sheriff’s Office.
The council also voted to eliminate an administrative part-time position from the books, bringing the police department’s number of part-time employees from five to four.
“Looking through the budget, I found out there was a position hire for a 5th person, part-time. That person was supposed to come in and help with some transition between buildings,” Johnson explained. “I don’t see any need for that. The person has never drawn a paycheck… they’ve never worked one hour.”
Johnson said that because the part-time employee has never actually worked any amount of hours for the Brusly P.D., he’s not cutting anyone out of a job – he simply doesn’t see a need for the position in the town’s books.
Johnson said that he has requested, in next year’s budget, to increase the salary of several of the part-time employees to $15 an hour while taking the fifth name off the books, which will save money in the budget.
“The five (part-time employees’ salaries) totaled $68.33 an hour… if we get rid of the fifth person, go down to four, consolidate and bring them all up to $15, it’s $60 total.”
The council also discussed hiring an auditor for a police department audit.
Mayor Pro Temp Scot Rhodes said, during the meeting, that the council had spoken, during last week’s committee meetings, about hiring an audit firm.
“I think we need to come up with a scope. Get a committee together and come up with a scope so we can present it to the audit firm and get a price,” he said.
Rhodes said that Johnson began an audit, of sorts, of the police department’s equipment once appointed chief and has, so far, been very transparent with the council.
“You’ve already done a great job, in my mind, in terms of the inventory. I also appreciate the communication you’ve given since you came in,” said council member Don Neisler. “It’s very beneficial.”
Rhodes agreed, saying that he would like Johnson to be involved in the auditing process.
“I think when we determine the scope of this thing… if they say we need to do an audit of all the equipment, you can present it to them and save us a lot of money,” he said. “No need for them to do it when you’ve already done it.”
Johnson said that though he is in the process of doing his own audit of equipment and other police department assets, he is pleased the council wants to hire an audit firm.
“My thought behind it is this - they can validate it. I just want somebody to give it a stamp of approval and say ‘yeah, I agree,’” he said.
Rhodes said that he and the rest of the council appreciates the work Johnson has done as chief so far and is looking forward to working his him throughout his tenure.
“It makes everything easier when we have questions answered before we even have the questions,” Rhodes said.