Town to look into funding for Davis’ fees

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FERRIDAY — The Ferriday Town Council voted Tuesday to investigate if it has the funds to pay approximately $68,000 to a former mayor’s estate.

Former Mayor Sammy Davis Jr., who died in 2006, was convicted of malfeasance in office, but that conviction was vacated in the early 1990s. Under state law, an elected official can be reimbursed their legal fees if they are proven innocent and the charges are related to their elected position.

Alderman Elijah Banks made a motion that the town pay the fees, citing an opinion from the attorney general’s office that says the town can pay the fees.

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Mayor Glen McGlothin said that the opinion also requires that the payment will not affect the town’s other debt obligations.

“Not only will it affect our bills, it will affect our budget,” McGlothin said. “You have to make sure it is fiscally responsible.”

Alderman Johnnie Brown said he is somewhat frustrated by the situation because, in other instances, the state has paid the legal fees for other defendants.

When the matter came to a vote, Banks and Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd voted for it, with Brown, Alderman Jerome Harris and Alderwoman Somer Lance voting against.

Brown offered a compromise motion when he suggested the matter be handed over to the finance committee for review.

“We can look at what avenue we have to take to pay for this, and next month we can come back with some kind of sound judgment about how we can pay for this,” Brown said.

The aldermen also decided to have representatives from Recreation District No. 1 come to their next meeting so the board could formally inform the district of their plans to sever ties.

Board and community members said the town has not gotten its fair share of recreation funds.

Mayor Glen McGlothin said the only way to get the tax millage currently collected for recreation to be re-directed to the town’s coffers would be to have it legislatively approved.

The money would then be used to fund the town’s own recreation program.

“We aren’t trying to be nasty, we just want to make sure our kids get their share of the money for recreation,” Harris said. “We need to let (the recreation district) know we can work with them or without them.”

In other news:

The board voted to introduce an ordinance that would raise the fine for loud music from $281 to $500.

According to the existing ordinance, anyone in a vehicle or house disturbing the peace with loud music can be ticketed, Lloyd said.

The board voted to allow voter cards to be placed in Town Hall so anyone who wishes to register to vote can do so.

The board voted to abandon the old Ohio Street alley so Macon Ridge Community Development can build a new apartment complex on a portion of the alley, which McGlothin said has been empty for decades.

The board decided to ask a local pool consultant what would be needed to fix the Ferriday pool.

Once the town finds out what needs to be done, the department of health and human services will still have to sign off on the pool before it can open, McGlothin said.

The board passed a resolution that would allow the mayor to apply for a $250,000 grant to help solve the town’s water problems.

Likewise, the board voted to introduce an ordinance that would set in motion the process leading up to the state’s approval for the town to go forward with a water improvement project.