LIVINGSTON — Several members of the Livingston Parish Council sparred with the administration Thursday over financial information and health insurance matters.
The administration has not provided information needed to amend the parish budget, Councilman Marshall Harris said.
“We cannot amend the budget and start the new budget process until we know how much money we have now,” Harris said. “We should have already had the information.”
“We’re in the dark,” Councilman Ricky Goff agreed. “We don’t know what is going on.
Parish Treasurer Jennifer Meyers said she will get the financial information to council members Monday.
Harris also said he also wants to see proposals for employee health insurance for the coming year, since that will be an important part of the next budget.
Parish President Layton Ricks said he expects the parish’s insurance agent of record to present proposals from a number of companies early next month.
He said he thinks the parish will be able to reduce insurance expenses.
“I am confident we are going to take care of the employees” while reducing costs, he said.
To questions about his naming Tom Besselman as insurance agent of record and not putting the job out for bid, Ricks replied that Besselman is paid through a professional services contract.
“It needs to be an administrative decision,” Ricks said.
No matter who the agent of record is, that person gets bids from the same universe of insurance carriers, Ricks said.
The parish president said he was asked by the council to take care of the insurance matter and is trying to do so.
“I have to make the decision,” Ricks said. “I’m going to take the beating if it doesn’t work.”
When asked if he could revisit the decision naming Besselman as agent of record, Ricks said it’s too late. “We’re in the process of getting bids,” he said. “We’re not going to reopen it.”
Ricks said he is willing to discuss selection of the agent of record with the council in future years.
Councilwoman Joan Landry agreed it would be almost impossible to make the change at this point.