Editor, The Era-Leader,
As I was reading my June 22 copy of The Era-Leader, I came upon the news of Mayor Gregory Route's "by executive appointment" changes in the town's police department. Mayor Route wants to promote 3 officers to new positions. Why?
What is the deal with Mayor Gregory Route and the Franklinton police department?
The mayor explains that these promotions are due to the new position of "internal affairs officer". According to Chief Justin Brown, there already is an internal affairs investigator who was hired specifically for his experience in internal affairs. Why then create an already created position and promote others that will increase spending, but not add any more officers to the department? Said department is already experiencing a manpower shortage. So, the mayor wants to spend more taxpayer dollars with no positive increase in police coverage.
Mayor Route stated the "new" position is necessary due to many complaints from citizens. Yet, he offers no other information as to how many is many or what the complaints are?
Chief Brown further points out that promotions, that bypass current standing policy and other eligible officers, opens the department up to being sued for discriminatory actions by not adhering to the current policy. It also affects morale when eligible candidates are bypassed by, what is appearing to be, the whims of an outside authority.
Then, it is brought to Mayor Route's attention that any increase in spending outside of the approved budget for the police department would have to have the board of aldermen's approval. It would require a vote. Mayor Route did state, "No, I didn't break it down, because this is something we need...It's not up for vote, it don't have to come up for vote." Then when asked by the town attorney to defer to the next meeting to get the costs associated so that the board could vote, Mayor Route said, "But that's what I said. I said that we could wait until the next meeting to get a vote."
Now, I don't know about how you all would interpret this, but in that news story, among all the quotes from Mayor Route, I didn't see where he said anything about deferring. Did the mayor suffer an episode of short term memory loss?
I don't live inside the city limits of the town of Franklinton, but like most residents in Washington Parish, I go there a lot. So, while the town and these types of decision don't really affect me, I am interested.
And, I don't like political "kerfuffery" in any form or place.
And, when an elected official announces, "I, blah blah blah, by executive appointment/action/decision...", that should raise our attention level and brace ourselves for what is becoming more and more political power play theater.
Ben M Sarro
Rural Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA