Pointe Coupee jurors table employee pay issue

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury’s Personnel Committee delayed its discussion concerning who authorized a part-time employee to continue working for the parish after her position was nullified by the jury in 2010 until the findings of multiple investigations from outside agencies are released.

The second time that committee members Cornell Dukes, Kurt Jarreau, Ted Nelson, Kyle Olinde and Russell Young were presented with the issue came during the panel’s meeting Monday night. Jurors Nelson and Young did not attend the meeting.

The matter was referred back to the Personnel Committee during the Police Jury’s regular meeting on Feb. 26 where the particulars surrounding the hot-button issue were hotly debated by jurors.

A majority of the Police Jury agreed to send the question back to the committee to settle Juror Justin Cox’s inquiries despite the fact that Nelson said during the Jan. 22 meeting that he told the employee, identified as Beatrice Greenhouse, she could continue working in the parish’s Utility Department.

Cox has said his initial reasoning for exposing the matter to jury was that he thought the parish could have been obligated to pay for Greenhouse’s benefits and health coverage because she worked as much as 70 hours within some two-week pay periods.

According to parish records, Greenhouse has clocked more than 2,400 hours in the Utility Department since August 2010.

Jarreau said Monday night Greenhouse has earned about $25,000 between then and when the jury voided the position’s hours for a second time at the January meeting.

“It’s a big deal,” Jarreau said. “We do need to give this some attention.”

Cox has said he filed complaints with the state’s Attorney General’s Office, Louisiana Board of Ethics and the state’s legislative auditor questioning the legality of Nelson’s actions.

Dukes said during Monday night’s meeting that the jury should postpone the discussion.

“These things have been brought to the (state) Attorney General’s Office and the legislative auditor so we are currently under investigation by an outside agency, and for us to continue to discuss this matter could incriminate ourselves,” Dukes said.

Cox had no problem with tabling the matter, but it was because he said parish employees had not received proper notification from the committee they would be questioned about it at the meeting.