Attempt to oust Ferriday chief fails

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – An attempt by two Ferriday Town Council members to oust town Police Chief Eddie Newman failed Tuesday night because of questions about how the item should have been placed on the meeting agenda.

&uot;We’re getting so many complaints about the Police Department,&uot; said Councilman Bob Jones, who made the motion to fire Newman. &uot;We need to make a drastic change.&uot;

The motion was seconded by Councilman William Rucker. Neither Jones nor Rucker would give their reasons for supporting the motion. Mayor Odeal Montgomery also would not comment.

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&uot;I’m not worried. Only the mayor can fire me, … and there needs to be just cause for doing that,&uot;&160;said Newman, who was attending a funeral at the time of the meeting. &uot;I’d love to hear their reasons.

&uot;This is the first I’ve ever heard about it. But I’m not surprised by anything any more. It’s election time in Louisiana.&uot;

For the council to act, the item should have been entered on the agenda as &uot;chief of police,&uot;&160;instead of &uot;personnel,&uot; Montgomery said. She also said that only the chairman could make such a motion.

Town Attorney John Sturgeon said he could not determine on the spur of the moment whether the mayor was correct or not, so the council did not act on the motion.

Jones’ action was at the end of a meeting in which two citizens aired complaints about the police department.

James &uot;Phillip&uot; Eames said he called police twice on July 3 about cars with loud stereos but that the department said no officers were available.

Eliza Bethley said police did not arrest a man she believes stole a tire and chrome rim from her home. Assistant Chief Margaret Lawrence said two arrests had been made in connection with the case.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved a $1.66 million budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year.

It also approved a liquor license for the Tobacco Hut pending completion of necessary paperwork and verification of a newspaper notice announcing the license application.