Port Allen councilman pushing for increased transparency

The City Council is exploring administrative changes that members say will establish better hiring protocols and increase transparency in city government.

The changes would be ushered in through the adoption of several ordinances Councilman Garry Hubble offered up for discussion with city leaders Wednesday night during the City Council’s committee meetings.

Hubble asked council members to modify the city’s hiring practices, authorize the interim mayor to hire a law firm to update the employee handbook and expand the job duties of the city’s payroll clerk into a human resources director.

Hubble also proposed requiring two administrative signatures on all checks issued on the city’s bank accounts.

The proposals come in the wake of the council’s frequent clashes with former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter over several of her administrative decisions during her 11-month tenure. Slaughter was recalled from office on Nov. 16.

The council will consider the introduction of the proposed ordinances at its Feb. 12 meeting.

“We had a number of hires last year that were not advertised and protocol not followed,” Hubble told council members at Wednesday night’s meetings.

He accused Slaughter of making several hires during her administration that weren’t approved by the council or properly advertised to the public.

“I felt that ordinance needed some more teeth in it,” Hubble said. “I want to introduce language in our current ordinance that would make a hire invalid if the hiring protocols are not followed.”

Hubble also said an ordinance requiring two signatures on checks would provide better oversight.

Hubble’s proposal to create a human resources director/payroll clerk is the result of a lawsuit that Robin Ackerman filed against the city under Slaughter’s administration.

Ackerman sued the city after quitting her job as head payroll clerk claiming Slaughter had created a hostile work environment.

Ackerman returned to work on Jan. 10. As part of the judge’s ruling in her settlement, the council agreed to create the human resources director position, officials said Wednesday night.

“Even though it’s technically what she’s doing now, we need to create the position,” interim Mayor Lynn Robertson said.

Robertson said Ackerman is already taking human resources classes at LSU to prepare for the expanded duties the position entails.