Jurors to vote on mosquito contract next Tuesday

By: Paul Kedinger
CROWLEY - After getting a clarification on the wording of the Jury’s contract with Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc. (MCCI) from Nick Bellard, the jury’s legal counsel, members of the Mosquito Control Committee Tuesday night approved a motion to ask the full Jury to vote on terminating the contract at its meeting next Tuesday.

The clarification, according to Bellard, focused on the wording of two contract passages involved issuing 90-day notice for contract renewal versus termination.

Committee Chairman David Savoy also spoke of hiring a mosquito control supervisor, who he described as a “compliance person.”

Juror A.J. “Jay” Credeur questioned the position, noting that the Jury’s secretary-treasurer was responsible for ensuring compliance on all contracts.

Juror Julie Borill suggested a compliance person could be responsible for guaranteeing no out-of-parish garbage is put in the parish landfill and supervised other contracts.

Savoy said he was “dropping” the compliance” issue because it was focusing on more than mosquito control and it could be discussed in the future.

In other business, the Legislative Committee agreed to recommend the Jury reduce its permit fee to 10¢ per square foot on commercial structures. The permit fees would remain 20¢ per square foot on residential buildings.

Jury President A.J. “Fatty” Broussard commented residents have commented the building fees “are outrageous” and asked if the fees could be capped.

Architect Ron Lawson, who as the Jury’s third party inspector, certifies building plans and conduct seven inspections mandated by the state’s building code, pointed out his fees are lower than any other certified inspector.

The committee also asked attorney Bellard to research if the Jury could hold meetings in different locations in the parish.

After discussing proposals from several attorneys to serve as their legal counsel, the Finance Committee decided not to make a recommendation and present all proposals to the full Jury.

The Personnel Committee raised the possibility of sitting in on employee job interviews. Chairman Alton Stevenson’s commented about qualifications and all candidates having the same opportunity to be hired, Juror Credeur quickly answered interviews and judging qualifications was the duty of the Jury’s secretary-treasurer.

Credeur pointed out hiring was one of the secretary-treasurer’s duties in conjunction with the advice of department supervisors and was done “to take the politics out of hiring and firing.”

Juror Savoy interjected that he has been asked to use his influence to obtain jobs, noting he trusted Secretary-Treasurer Richard “Dickie” Latiolais and never raised the issue with him.

When questions about his hiring practices, Road Manager Michael “Pee Wee” Schexnider explained there is a constant job advertisement online.

Noting he believes some parish workers are not properly qualified, Juror Dale Trahan asked if current employees have undergone any work evaluations since the new Jury was formed.

Trahan’s comments prompted Juror Credeur to recommend the Jury require worker job evaluations every six months, a suggestion which appeared to have wide support from all jurors.

A request from Juror Stevenson to hold a public hearing on jurors’ salaries was quickly rejected. Noting the issue has been raised by voters prior to his election, Juror Robert Guidry said, “I won’t support any salary increase.” No action was taken on Stevenson’s motion.

Two parish residents asked the Road and Bridge Committee to consider installing speed bumps to force drivers to slow down on their roads.

Johnathan Habetz, presented a petition signed by many of his neighbors on Edwin Street, which feed into Rayne.

Habetz noted Edwin Street is heavily used by motorists as a shortcut off Standard Mill Road.

He noted efforts by the Sheriff’s Department and the Rayne City Police Department have only momentarily halted the speeders. In April Habetz said he counted 273 cars and 167 cars on two separate mornings.

Francis Pellissier also sought relief from speeding motorists on Pellissier Lane, which dead-ends at a trailer park. He noted motorists normally drive 35 to 45 mph.

Jurors directed Bellard to research what liability the parish might face if speed bumps are used to slow traffic.

Jurors appeared to agree with Juror Savoy’s belief that the Jury must establish a criteria with which to decide whether or not any speed bumps should be installed.

Jury President Broussard commended staffer Peggy Romero for her successful efforts in securing two Community Development Block grants of $419,830 and $381,612 for road improvements in the Village of Midland.

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