Youth leader

Writer’s comments on the problem between the mayor and the police department

Publisher, The Era-Leader,

While reading my June 22 copy of The Era-Leader, I came across news of Mayor Gregory Route’s “by executive appointment” changes to the city’s police department. Mayor Route wishes to promote 3 agents to new positions. Why?

What’s the deal with Mayor Gregory Route and the Franklinton Police Department?

The mayor explains that these promotions are due to the new position of “in charge of internal affairs”. According to Chief Justin Brown, there is already an internal affairs investigator who was hired specifically for his internal affairs experience. Why then create a position already created and promote others that will increase expenditure, but not add other agents to the department? This department is already experiencing a labor shortage. So the mayor wants to spend more taxpayer money without a positive increase in police coverage.

Mayor Route said the “new” post is needed because of numerous complaints from citizens. Yet it offers no other information about the number or the complaints?

Chief Brown further points out that promotions, which circumvent current permanent policy and other eligible officers, expose the department to lawsuits for discriminatory actions by not following current policy. It also affects morale when eligible candidates are circumvented by what appears to be the whims of outside authority.

Next, it is brought to Mayor Route’s attention that any increase in spending outside of the approved budget for the police department should have the approval of the board of aldermen. It would require a vote. Mayor Route said, “No, I haven’t broken it down, because it’s something we need…It’s not up for a vote, it doesn’t need to be up for a vote.” Then, when asked by the city attorney to postpone to the next meeting to get the associated costs so council can vote, Mayor Route said, “But that’s what I said. I said we could wait for the next meeting to get a vote.”

Now, I don’t know how you all would interpret this, but in this report, among all the quotes from Mayor Route, I didn’t see where he talked about postponement. Did the mayor suffer an episode of short-term memory loss?

I don’t live within the city limits of Franklinton, but like most people in Washington Parish, I go there a lot. So, even if the city and this kind of decision do not really concern me, I am interested.

And, I don’t like political “kerfuffery” in any form.

And, when an elected official announces, “Me, blah blah blah, by executive appointment/action/decision…”, it should elevate our level of attention and prepare us for what is increasingly becoming a theater of political power play.

Ben M Sarro

Rural Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA