EUNICE, LA — The Eunice aldermen voted to change their chief’s unchecked authority to hire, fire, and suspend officers.
They said the decision wasn’t for or against the current police chief, but people spoke for and against him at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“I’m no longer sad that neither of my children lives in Eunice. I’m grateful”, said one woman as she took to the podium.
Men and women voiced their opinions for or against a resolution that would take power away from Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot and his successors.
One citizen, Randall Leget, said, “I think we have a good chief, and he’s doing the best job he can with the resources he has”.
Alderwoman Germaine Simpson added the motion. She says she hopes it will boost morale in the department and reduce turnover, “It has nothing to do with what’s on Facebook. It has nothing to do with rumors.”
The resolution requires the chief to get approval for any hiring or firing of officers. It also requires a hearing before any disciplinary action is taken against them.
“Sometimes when you’re doing your job, you have to step on your toes”, said Chief Fontenot.
The aldermen and women first voted to give Chief Fontenot the sole hiring, firing, and disciplining authority in August of 2016. They say don’t need any reason to take it away.
According to Chief Fontenot, most of his critics are the associates of officers who left the department after being disciplined for corruption or the officers themselves, “These officers don’t like discipline”.
The alderman unanimously voted to return the authority to the council.
Chief Fontenot asked the aldermen what they would do differently the past few years if they had the powers they regained. Alderwoman Simpson simply said she wouldn’t have voted for the change in the first place
Alderman at Large Marion “Nootsie” Satler and the other aldermen hope having more involved in the decision will help, “You can only be successful by the people you surround yourself with. That’s not only our police department. That’s our city people that is our city”.