Dunbar getting calls before first jury meeting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — Willie J. Dunbar is getting his baptism by fire as a Concordia Parish police juror — and he hasn’t even been sworn in yet.

&uot;One lady who lives on Moose Lodge Road called me just the other day and said that the street near her house is so bad she can hardly get into her driveway,&uot;&160;said Dunbar, 46, who was elected in November to the District 2 post, replacing Fred Marsalis.

&uot;I&160;don’t know if that’s in my district or (District 3B Juror) Charlie Blaney’s, but I&160;told her I’d do my best to see it was taken care of.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Dunbar spends his days working as a heavy equipment operator for the Town of Vidalia and spends much of his free time volunteering. But he has pledged that he will take time to return all the calls he gets and address constituents’ concerns. And even before his four-year term starts – his first meeting is not until Jan. 10 — he is keeping a pocket notebook handy to write down the names and numbers of those who call or see him personally.

The notebook also contains notes he has scribbled about their specific concerns. They usually mention problems with roads, drainage or abandoned houses – especially in the Concordia Park subdivision near Vidalia, which has many public works needs.

Fixing those problems is the platform on which Dunbar ran for office, and Concordia Park is the area he calls home. &uot;But I&160;want to me a police juror for the whole community,&uot;&160;he added.

And he has already received training. In December, he attended a workshop sponsored by the Louisiana Police Jury Association. There, newly-elected jurors learned about what they could and could not do under the law.

Topics included ethics guidelines and new laws that affect how police juries do their business. &uot;I&160;didn’t realize there was so much to learn until I&160;got there,&uot;&160;Dunbar said.

And in addition to learning more about his new position, the Natchez native still plans to take an active role in the community. In his spare time, Dunbar volunteers with Sickle-Cell Anemia Program and the Ferriday Recreation Department. But perhaps the cause closest to his heart is the Concordia Youth and Adult Association, a nonprofit whose interests range from tutoring programs to providing youth with more recreational opportunities.

&uot;I&160;always want to volunteer, no matter what else I’m doing,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s where you get your blessings from.&uot;