Chief doubts he can merge job functions

Mayor Bob Morris suggested at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that Police Chief Gary Fontenot not fill an upcoming vacancy as a means of gaining additional funding for departmental pay.

Fontenot said he is willing to consider the possibility but doesn’t think it can be done.

“I tried it before but it didn’t work. When a job exists and the person retires, you can’t just abolish a job,” he said, pointing out someone has to absorb the duties.

Morris noted that Lt. Bruce Vige, a senior department officer, plans to retire in January. Vige handles scheduling and payroll time sheet administration in addition to being the training officer, the evidence officer and the public information officer.

He suggested Vige’s position be absorbed and his payroll cost allocated to others.

The chief said he had previously assessed all positions in the department and that the responsibilities of three other positions had been combined into Vige’s post.

“I’m just suggesting it. Maybe give it a three-to-six months trial,” Morris said.

“I think it can be done,” he said, pointing to job attrition in departments he supervises over the past 18 months.

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