LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Soon, Mark McMurry will retire as parish administrator. On Thursday night, the police jury nailed down a guide by which the next person to fill the position is chosen. At some points it got heated.
Wen the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury originated, treasurer, secretary and parish administrator were filled by different people. When the treasurer and the secretary retired, Mark McMurry was given the title of ex officio. This meant he could appoint people to fill the positions even though the responsibilities would now fall on him. Now that he is retiring, the police jury voted to break those up again.
"I don't want to see administrator, treasurer, and secretary all under the same name," said Police Juror, Elizabeth Griffin.
This is a decision that Mark McMurry said he thought was a bad move. He said it could cause problems down the road. But, in a close vote the jury passed the revision.
As they moved further throughout the guide, they realized that their first vote on the issue could cause problems. They passed a vote to revisit their decision.
They decided that the roles should still be separate, but rather than being and equal to the parish administrator, they would be hired by the police jury, and work under the new parish administrator. But, if for any reason the treasurer and the secretary disagree with the parish administrator they can come before the jury.
"Those two positions will answer to the parish administrator for the daily operations and the philosophies, but they have direct responsibilities to the police jury," said Allen Smith, General Counsel to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.
All where in agreement that, with the people filling the positions now, that would not cause problems. But, in the future, when others fill the job, it may not work so smoothly.
"Let's assume that police jury hires someone not recommended by the administrator, and those two positions don't work well together. That will cause a tremendous problem, because you don't have anyone in charge," said Allen Smith.
The search for the new parish administrator will begin. The police jury gave the green light to advertise the job in major Louisiana newspapers and online.