Jury employee still working 2 years after job ended

A part-time employee of the Pointe Coupee Parish Utility Department was temporarily removed from the clock Tuesday night until the Police Jury’s Personnel Committee determines why she is still being paid even though jurors nullified her job slot two years ago.

The Police Jury voted 6-3-1 Tuesday night to refer the matter to committee after Juror Justin Cox said the part-time position had not been approved by the Police Jury since August 2010.

Cox said the employee was still working for the parish, sometimes getting paid for as many as 75 hours during two-week pay periods. Jurors Clifford Nelson, Russell Young and Cornell Dukes voted against Cox’s motion.

Jury President Melanie Bueche chose to abstain from voting Tuesday night.

Jurors Albert Dukes and Allen Monk were not present when the vote was taken.

Dukes said he didn’t see why there was any rush for the jury to act so quickly to resolve the matter.

“It’s been going on for three years,” Dukes said. “Let the Personnel Committee discuss it and then come back to the full jury with a solution.”

The Personnel Committee is set to meet Thursday.

Cox said he felt the Police Jury needs to address the issue immediately because, given the amount of hours the employee was working, the parish could find itself obligated to pay for her benefits and health care coverage.

Employees who work more than 32 hours a week are considered full-time, Cox said.

Jurors Nelson and Cox got into a heated debate on the issue.

Nelson argued he presented the matter to the Police Jury and no one spoke out against letting the employee continue working.

Cox countered there were no meeting minutes on file to back up Nelson’s claim.

“The policy is she shouldn’t be working at all,” Cox said. “She hasn’t been approved.”

“This is a young girl trying to make it,” Nelson said. “I told her she couldn’t work more than 32 hours until we get this straight. Why are you being so hard on this young lady?”

“We need to follow procedure,” Cox replied. “That’s the problem here; we don’t follow procedure.”