Officials seek to improve financial order, public safety for Ferriday

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

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FERRIDAY, La. — For newly elected mayor Alvin Garrison, a brighter future for the Town of Ferriday means “putting Ferriday back to the way it used to be.”

That means working to see that “citizens are safe, bills are paid on time and fiscal and financial management is back in place,” Garrison said.

Garrison, who took his oath of office Monday, said to help make that happen new officials were appointed, including a new Police Chief Clearance “C.J.” Hall Jr., Fire Chief Danny Cupit, Town Clerk Becky Albert and Town Attorney Jay Boyd after the previous officials resigned and moved to new positions.

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New Town Clerk Becky Albert has previously worked for the town as the Municipal Court Clerk, Garrison said. Jay Boyd replaces Philip Letard as the attorney after he has filled that seat since 2020 and retired, Garrison said.

“(Boyd) is a local guy and I think will do a good job,” Garrison said.

CJ Hall comes from Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office to lead the Ferriday Police Department

“He’s a good guy and had a good interview” out of three of four candidates considered, Garrison said. The Democrat has reached out to Hall for further comment on this story, who could not be reached before presstime.

Vidalia Firefighter Danny Cupit takes the helm of the Ferriday Fire Department as the Fire Chief after Interim Fire Chief and Ken White, who has been in that position since former Fire Chief Carmen Evans moved away in July 2023.

“My goals are to improve the quality of fire service in the Town of Ferriday and provide more training for firefighters on staff and also to provide certification opportunities to the firefighters,” he said. “For a long time, they’ve operated without certified firefighters and I want to give them the opportunity to get properly trained.”

Cupit said he has come full circle from starting out at Ferriday Fire Department as a rookie firefighter eight years ago under Chief Joe Sontoyo’s administration and now leading the department while continuing to work full-time as a firefighter in Vidalia.

Another of Cupit’s goals is to be a leadership role model, increase community involvement, educate the community on fire safety and recruit more firefighters.

Cupit included, Ferriday is serviced by four firefighters on staff and he will be hiring four more, Cupit said.

Ferriday, while it has its financial challenges, is a great place for new recruits to learn and get the experience they need just as he did, Cupit said.

“We’ll be taking on experienced firefighters or newbies. We’ve got a lot of work to do as far as finances and being able to make sure employees are properly paid but I would say our most competitive part about this job is the learning aspect. It’s a great place to get experience.

“(Chief Sontoyo) taught me the basics and everything I needed to advance my career. He was a very good leader and good teacher and it was a privilege to learn under him.”

With eight total candidates initially on the ballot, Garrison said that running for mayor “wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”

“We had a good feeling,” he said of being elected. Garrison thanked “the people of Ferriday” for supporting him to lead the town. “If I call names, I’m going to miss someone,” he said.