Sorrento fills vacant assistant police chief post

The Town Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to promote town Police Officer Ricky Smith to the rank of assistant police chief.

Police Chief Earl Theriot, who is facing knee surgery, told the council he wanted to promote Smith now because he will need help running the Police Department after his operation in the near future.

Council members Patti Poche, Marvin Martin, Don Schexnaydre and Wanda Bourgeois voted to promote Smith.

Councilman Randy Anny did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. Smith was not present, either.

Sorrento has been without an assistant police chief since the council voted on Aug. 21, 2012, to fire then-Assistant Police Chief Billy Ballard, citing his alleged role in a Police Department internal investigation.

At the time he was fired, Ballard had been on a two-week, unpaid suspension for an alleged Police Department policy violation.

Also during the meeting when the council fired Ballard, council members voted to take no action against Smith, who was questioned in executive session by councilmen as part of the investigation.

More recently, Smith became the subject of another internal investigation which opened last month, but no details regarding that investigation have been made public.

A previous Town Council administration delayed a vote earlier this year on appointing Smith as assistant police chief.

Other Town Council decisions Tuesday included:

Members voted 4-0 to set the town clerk’s salary at $36,028 per year, plus benefits and overtime pay.

Members unanimously agreed to adopt a compliance questionnaire based on the town’s 2013 fiscal year to be submitted to the town auditor.