It's been a month of scandal for the Webster Parish fire districts, after three chiefs in two districts were arrested for allegedly misusing taxpayer dollars. However, a new ordinance is in the works that allows citizen members of the fire board to keep a closer tab on where the money's going. The police jury unveiled the ordinance at its meeting this week. It hasn't been enacted yet, but is up for public view and comment.
The ordinance lays out a set of six rules that board appointees must follow, including attending annual audits, unanimous approval of all expenditures, a quarterly meeting for each board and filing an annual report due to the parish that details how the money was spent. The ordinance would apply to all government-appointed panels, including the fire, EMA and library boards.
Patrick Jackson, ADA for Webster Parish, says the ordinance is to help instill public trust back into the boards. "Many times the citizens are wanting to volunteer their time, but aren't provided the necessary training or given a set of expectations," he said, noting that this ordinance would change that. Jackson said that, if it's approved, it would be one of the first of its kind in any parish in the state.
You can read the entire ordinance by visiting police jury headquarters or visiting the website. http://www.websterparishla.org/index.html