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Story Archives: Police jury got it wrong
|Police jury got it wrong|
Over the years Concordia Parish has benefited from being served by a police jury that generally acted in the best interests of the people who live here and the businesses located here as well.
Earlier this week, though, the police jury took a hiatus from reality and flirted with the unconscionable when police jurors voted to name an engineering firm from Natchez, Miss., as the engineering firm of record for Concordia Parish, Louisiana.
For 26 years, Bryant Hammett & Associates of Ferriday has served as the police jury's engineering firm. As far as we are concerned, Bryant Hammett & Associates has done a sound job working for the police jury. Accordingly, the firm has performed well for the people and businesses in Concordia that provide the tax dollars the police jury must have to provide services for the people.
One of those businesses that pays a significant amount of taxes in Concordia is Bryant Hammett & Associates. The firm also employs more than 30 Concordia Parish residents and generates a more than $1 million annual payroll here. Let's not forget that the firm buys goods and services in Concordia as well.
We fully recognize that Bryant Hammett & Associates was sued by the police jury a few years ago over work the firm was contracted to provide in an extensive project to improve parish roads. The police jury and Bryant Hammett & Associates settled the lawsuit out of court. As part of the settlement, Bryant Hammett & Associates paid the police jury hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mistakes were made. Bryant Hammett & Associates owned up to them and paid for them.
That was in the past, which is where it should remain—in the past.
We are not suggesting that the police jury hired an engineering firm from Natchez, Miss., out of spite. We would rather the people decide that for themselves.
We are scratching our heads, though, over why the police jury would ask Bryant Hammett & Associates to complete a number of projects currently in the planning stage or under way outright in Concordia before the firm disengages from the police jury?
If Bryant Hammett & Associates was not worthy of being named the engineering firm of record for the Concordia Parish Police Jury, why would police jurors insist that Bryant Hammett & Associates complete its work here before it moves on to other endeavors?
It would be irresponsible of us not to acknowledge that police jurors Jerry Beatty and Tommy "Red" Tiffee voted against the motion to name Jordan, Kaiser & Sessions as Concordia's engineering firm of record. Beatty and Tiffee voted appropriately, and they should be commended for it.
Police jurors Carey Cook, Willie Dunbar, Jimmy Jernigan, Joe Parker, Whest Shirley and Randy Temple voted to name the Natchez, Miss., firm as the parish's engineer. Though he did not vote in his capacity as police jury president, Melvin Ferrington indicated he supported hiring Jordan, Kaiser & Sessions.
Vote or not, Ferrington made a bad decision. So did the police jurors who voted to make the change.
They should revisit the issue as soon as possible.
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