New appointee will oversee St. Helena’s government operations

The St. Helena Parish Police Jury voted Wednesday to authorize one of its employees to oversee the day-to-day operations of parish government.

Virginia Bell, the parish’s grants administrator, was given the authority “to supervise, manage and direct the operations of all office personnel and other aspects of Police Jury day-to-day functions, with the full force and support of the governing body,” according to a resolution added to the Police Jury’s agenda Wednesday night.

The new responsibilities become effective Thursday, according to the jurors’ vote.

Bell said after the meeting that a job title had not yet been created to accompany her added duties.

She will bring an official proposal for how she plans to implement the new duties, and a title will be discussed at the next Police Jury meeting, she said. The jurors may call a special meeting for that purpose, she said.

“This will not be an easy conversion to make,” Bell said, noting that the responsibilities include having other parish supervisors report directly to her rather than to the jurors. “We will all have to give a little, and the jurors will be expected to perform better as well,” Bell said.

The vote to give Bell the added responsibilities was unanimous.

Other business included:

SECURITY BREACH: The jurors began Wednesday night’s meeting with an hour and 15-minute executive session to begin an investigation regarding unauthorized access to Police Jury computer files.

No action was taken on the matter when the Police Jury returned to open session.

TAX ELECTION: The Police Jury voted unanimously to place two tax propositions on the May 4 election ballot.

One would rededicate and extend to the road and bridge maintenance fund an ad valorem tax that currently supports the now-defunct parish health unit.

The second ballot proposition would rededicate part of a 1-cent sales tax that supports the parish’s solid waste program.