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Mayor says Ferriday Police Chief Arthur Lewis is insubordinate
from The Concordia Sentinel
February 23, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

Ferriday Mayor Sherrie Jacobs said Ferriday Police Chief Arthur Lewis has overspent, hired too many employees, once instigated an argument between two of his officers and has been insubordinate.

The mayor’s comments come a week after the board of aldermen rejected her request to fire Lewis. Jacobs said she declined to discuss Lewis at last week’s meeting for employee privacy reasons.

After the aldermen refused to terminate Lewis, Jacobs suspended the chief for 30 days, his second suspension in three months.

“I had thought that to prevent embarrassing anyone, I would just not discuss the situation at the Ferriday Police Department,” Jacobs said. “However, now it is clear that the people deserve to know the details so they can form their own opinions. On July 1, 2016, I turned over the police department to the chief to serve and protect our citizens. We had many discussions about the difference between Ferriday’s finances and Vidalia’s.”

Jacobs said elected chiefs have their own budget and that the appointed chief’s budget is included in the town’s budget.

“The department creates its own revenue as we discussed numerous times,” she said. “Ferriday didn’t have a lot of money, so the department had to have just the basic positions. From the beginning, it was as though we had never spoken on this subject. The chief began to hire more and more people, saying that he had to have the right amount of people to do the job.

“He began to make more and more purchases —uniforms, badges, shirts, etc., getting no purchase orders as was the procedure. He allowed hours and hours of overtime, which we could not afford. The department’s payroll was 75 percent of the total payroll. He gave almost everyone a rank, which caused friction, backbiting and turmoil. Too many chiefs.”

Jacobs said the spending and hiring continued to grow.

“We had several other talks about getting the department back down to the number of employees we could afford, about the absolute need to stop spending, and about the obscene amount of overtime that needed to stop. Nothing changed,” she said. “During this time, we struggled to make payroll every two weeks. My finance committee met with the chief and me. They reiterated the same information that had been discussed in all other meetings with the chief. They reminded him that we were $200,000 over budget. Still, no changes were forthcoming.

“He {Lewis} continued to say he had to have the people he needed and the equipment he needed in order to do the job. Several board members reminded me that I was responsible for personnel and for budget control. In October, I issued a directive that there would be no overtime unless it was approved by the mayor. Then, I studied the police department roster and eliminated some of the 'fluff' positions that we could not afford to pay. I delivered the termination letters to the chief to give to the employees.”

Jacobs said Lewis was furious and yelled at her.

“Later, he returned two letters saying the people refused to accept them,” Jacobs said. “And for the next two days, he allowed those people I had fired to return to work and clock in at the department. I did not call him out on the insubordination in an effort to continue working with him for our citizens.”

Jacobs said that on Friday, December 2, 2016, she received a phone call from the police department.

“Two officers were in a heated argument,” Jacobs said. “One following the other around and both yelling and cursing. The officer being followed called the chief who was in Vidalia telling him she was concerned for her safety. He told her to lock herself in the dispatch office, and he would dress and be on his way. He did not come.

“He called his assistant who was in Arkansas to handle the situation. I heard from the assistant and from the officer who called the chief. At no time did I hear from the chief about this. With the assistant in Arkansas and the chief refusing to come, I got up and went to the police department in my pajamas, because I was very afraid with flaring tempers and guns something bad could happen.

“I told an officer to tell the one who had followed the other officer around yelling that he was suspended until I could talk to him on Monday. On Monday, before I had a chance to see the officer, the chief told him to come on back to work because the mayor didn’t give him anything in writing. That was the second act of insubordination -- and enough. I called the chief to my office and gave him his letter of suspension in which I explained to him about the two instances of insubordination.”

(Concordia Sentinel) — Ferriday Mayor Sherrie Jacobs said Ferriday Police Chief Arthur Lewis has overspent, hired too many employees, once instigated an argument between two of his officers and has been insubordinate.

The mayor’s comments come a week after the board of aldermen rejected her request to fire Lewis. Jacobs said she declined to discuss Lewis at last week’s meeting for employee privacy reasons.

After the aldermen refused to terminate Lewis, Jacobs suspended the chief for 30 days, his second suspension in three months.

“I had thought that to prevent embarrassing anyone, I would just not discuss the situation at the Ferriday Police Department,” Jacobs said. “However, now it is clear that the people deserve to know the details so they can form their own opinions. On July 1, 2016, I turned over the police department to the chief to serve and protect our citizens. We had many discussions about the difference between Ferriday’s finances and Vidalia’s.”

Jacobs said elected chiefs have their own budget and that the appointed chief’s budget is included in the town’s budget.

“The department creates its own revenue as we discussed numerous times,” she said. “Ferriday didn’t have a lot of money, so the department had to have just the basic positions. From the beginning, it was as though we had never spoken on this subject. The chief began to hire more and more people, saying that he had to have the right amount of people to do the job.

“He began to make more and more purchases —uniforms, badges, shirts, etc., getting no purchase orders as was the procedure. He allowed hours and hours of overtime, which we could not afford. The department’s payroll was 75 percent of the total payroll. He gave almost everyone a rank, which caused friction, backbiting and turmoil. Too many chiefs.”

Jacobs said the spending and hiring continued to grow.

“We had several other talks about getting the department back down to the number of employees we could afford, about the absolute need to stop spending, and about the obscene amount of overtime that needed to stop. Nothing changed,” she said. “During this time, we struggled to make payroll every two weeks. My finance committee met with the chief and me. They reiterated the same information that had been discussed in all other meetings with the chief. They reminded him that we were $200,000 over budget. Still, no changes were forthcoming.

“He {Lewis} continued to say he had to have the people he needed and the equipment he needed in order to do the job. Several board members reminded me that I was responsible for personnel and for budget control. In October, I issued a directive that there would be no overtime unless it was approved by the mayor. Then, I studied the police department roster and eliminated some of the 'fluff' positions that we could not afford to pay. I delivered the termination letters to the chief to give to the employees.”

Jacobs said Lewis was furious and yelled at her.

“Later, he returned two letters saying the people refused to accept them,” Jacobs said. “And for the next two days, he allowed those people I had fired to return to work and clock in at the department. I did not call him out on the insubordination in an effort to continue working with him for our citizens.”

Jacobs said that on Friday, December 2, 2016, she received a phone call from the police department.

“Two officers were in a heated argument,” Jacobs said. “One following the other around and both yelling and cursing. The officer being followed called the chief who was in Vidalia telling him she was concerned for her safety. He told her to lock herself in the dispatch office, and he would dress and be on his way. He did not come.

“He called his assistant who was in Arkansas to handle the situation. I heard from the assistant and from the officer who called the chief. At no time did I hear from the chief about this. With the assistant in Arkansas and the chief refusing to come, I got up and went to the police department in my pajamas, because I was very afraid with flaring tempers and guns something bad could happen.

“I told an officer to tell the one who had followed the other officer around yelling that he was suspended until I could talk to him on Monday. On Monday, before I had a chance to see the officer, the chief told him to come on back to work because the mayor didn’t give him anything in writing. That was the second act of insubordination -- and enough. I called the chief to my office and gave him his letter of suspension in which I explained to him about the two instances of insubordination.”



 
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