APPJ eyes policy for selection of secretary-treasurer
Despite being told that they could take no action “binding” any future police juries, the sitting members of Acadia’s parish government are moving forward with establishing a protocol for the appointment of a secretary-treasurer.
That appointment, usually a routine matter handled right after election of a president and vice president, took nearly a month to finalize this year after seven “new” jurors were sworn in on the eight-member panel and officers elected.
“This is not to secure Bryan (Borill’s) position, or that of any future secretary-treasurer,” Chance Henry, police jury president, said during Tuesday night’s Legislative Committee meeting. “This is merely intended as a guideline in the event there is ever a high turn-over of jurors again, like we had this year.”
Borill, an 11th-hour applicant for the job, was formally appointed on Feb 5, a little more than three weeks after jurors took office on Jan. 13. At the time of his appointment, Borill was one of four candidates left standing from a field of 10 (counting him). Of the original nine “applicants” considered by jurors, two claimed they never submitted a resume for consideration, two didn’t show up for interviews and two dropped out just hours before the jury was scheduled to make a decision.
With three candidates remaining, the matter was sent back to committee. But just minutes before the committee – which consisted of all eight jurors – met to consider candidates, Borill presented his resume and was subsequently recommended to the full jury. Six jurors voted in favor of hiring Borill. Three abstained from voting.
Glen Howie, the jury’s legal counsel, pointed out that state law mandates only that the police jury appoint a treasurer, it does not spell out the procedure for doing so. Acadia Parish combined the offices of secretary and treasurer in 1984.
“We didn’t go against protocol this year because there was no protocol,” Henry said before admitting that “morally and ethically, it didn’t look good. We have to have a process in place.”
Howie presented a proposed resolution outlining a procedure for appointment to the office, reminding jurors that a resolution is not an ordinance and can either be followed or ignored by any future juries. The resolution would require:
• An advertisement be placed in the legal journal newspaper for the parish;
• Persons applying for the position submit a resume to the Administrative Office by the date specified in the advertisement and provide required qualifications and background information as specified in the advertisement; and
• Interviews with applicants be held at a special meeting of the police jury at a time and date to be determined.
That procedure is a mirror of the procedure the current jury unsuccessfully attempted to use for the process resulting in the appointment of Borill.
Five of the jurors-elect, before being sworn in, petitioned the jury to advertise for the position, and a deadline was set for the submission of applications. That deadline, however, was ignored. Although only four resumes were submitted by the deadline, a total of six resumes, including Borill’s, were eventually considered.
Howie suggested that deadlines established pursuant to the resolution be “hard deadlines, not soft ones.”
Luke Dupré, recently appointed Public Policy Advisor by the police jury, said the appointment process remains unclear despite attorney general opinions, Supreme Court decisions and legislation. He said he would work with Howie and plans to present jurors with three proposals.
“The policy is up to you,” he said. “There are no constraints except the Equal Employment constraints.”
Dupré said he would have his proposals ready for the April committee meetings.