° empty

Ferriday recreation director reinstated

FERRIDAY — Heartfelt confessions and stories from Ferriday residents Monday morning produced tears from some alderman and eventually a decision from Mayor Glen McGlothin on the fate of the town’s recreation director.

Last week, the board of aldermen chose to table the decision regarding Recreation Director McKinley D. Bates III, who was arrested March 3, on charges of felony possession of marijuana with intent, carrying of weapons and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

Bates’ arrest came with 30 others who were arrested after a yearlong joint investigation among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that targeted narcotics sales in the Ferriday area.

Bates was released from the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office on $45,000 bond March 5.

After the arrest, McGlothin issued a letter stating that Bates was placed on indefinite suspension without pay.

During the regular board meeting last week, the board argued that a notice in the recreation manual stated the director must be given a 30-day notice before being terminated and that Bates should be able to present his case before a final decision was made.

Bates approached the board Monday morning during a specially called meeting and gave a short, but emotional speech.

“I don’t want to say anything about my situation, but I know I’m innocent. But the fact remains proving it now,” Bates said. “It’s not about me, it’s about the children. I know this thing looks ugly, but I just want my job back.”

Other community members and aldermen gave positive feedback in support of Banks before McGlothin said he had reached a decision.

“I’ve given this so much thought … I’m going to put McKinley back to work and put my faith in him like he put his faith in me,” McGlothin said. “I’m going to hope and pray that my faith in him comes out like I think it will.”

While the decision was ultimately left up to McGlothin alone and not the board, he said seeing and hearing the community standing behind Bates reassured him of his decision.

“A lot of people have come to me since the last meeting, and I’m taking a chance on what he’s done with the little bit he’s had and his track record,” McGlothin said after the meeting. “Whether he’s guilty or not guilty is not up to me, I’m going on a gut feeling with this and if it saves one kid from doing something wrong, than it’ll be worth it.”

Breathing a deep sigh of relief after the decision, Bates said he is ready to get back to work and catch up on the work he’s missed.

“It’s going to benefit the kids because that’s what it’s all about,” Bates said after the meeting. “I have to make a lot of phone calls and get back to work.”

Bates said he was appreciative of the community, the board of aldermen and McGlothin, all of whom have shown their support for him.

“The mayor is an honest man, and he made his decision based on the fact that he knows me and knows that I won’t let him down,” Bates said. “The Lord says that what you put into a situation, you will get back tenfold, and I’m just grateful that God laid his hand on this situation.”