Defeated chief seeks job as officer

PORT ALLEN — Police Chief Ken Bates asked the City Council Wednesday night to consider reinstating him as a police officer following his loss in the Nov. 6 elections.

Bates, a Republican, was defeated by Esdron Brown, a Democrat, by 158 votes — 1,431 to 1,589 votes — according to unofficial but complete returns from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Bates asked the council to consider the vote before Brown is sworn into office Jan. 1.

Bates said he’d like to return to the department as a sergeant, the rank he held before he was elected as chief in March to serve the rest of former Police Chief Fred Smith’s unexpired term.

Smith was convicted on racketeering and fraud charges that resulted from Operation Blighted Officials, a federal investigation.

“I haven’t spoken with the new chief yet,” Bates said. “If he has something better for me within the department, I wouldn’t mind taking it.”

In other agenda items Wednesday:

NEW HIRE: The council unanimously hired Harry Anthony Robertson as a police officer.

Bates said Robertson’s tentative start date is Dec. 5 and he will earn approximately $34,037 annually.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Bates said there are two vacant positions in the Police Department.

BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS: The council unanimously adopted an ordinance to allocate $22,500 into the general fund of the city’s 2012-13 fiscal year budget to cover two unanticipated expenditures.

Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain said $18,000 had to be penciled into the budget’s Waste Collection Expense to cover a contractual increase for residential garbage collection from Progressive Waste Solutions, and a $4,500 allotment was needed to pay for services involving employee retirement and benefits.

The $22,500 addition to the general fund is being pulled from the budget’s $72,000 anticipated surplus, she said.

ISAAC REIMBURSEMENT: Chief Administrative Officer Andre Genre said the administration will begin taking the steps to acquire recovery funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency related to expenses incurred during Hurricane Isaac.

Genre said the city spent more than $58,000 on equipment to service needs and damages to its infrastructure.

The city expects FEMA to cover 75 percent of its Isaac-related expenses, he said.