Ferriday Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd lashed out at Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner following a scheduled town meeting July 12 to pass the budget, but a lack of a quorum forced the meeting to be cancelled.
Not passing the budget put the town out of compliance.
Aldermen Gail Pryor and Elijah “Stepper” Banks were at the meeting, while Lloyd, Andre Keys and Brandi Bacon were absent.
The budget from the previous fiscal year was not passed by June 30, knocking Ferriday out of compliance.
“I don’t think the board realizes the severity of not passing the budget,” Turner said immediately after the July 12 meeting. “We cannot continue operating the town, so we are in partial shutdown mode because we don’t have a budget to operate with. I don’t care if you have a problem with me, but you have to come to the meeting to conduct the town’s business.”
In January, the Town of Ferriday was forced to shut down for four days because the budget from the past fiscal year was not passed.
Ferriday’s police and fire departments were closed for four days before the town adopted its budget on January 31 in a special meeting attended by Louisiana Legislative Auditor Michael Waguespack. Concordia Parish Sheriff’s office and Louisiana State Police patrolled the town during the shutdown.
“I am really upset this took place,” Turner said of the lack of a quorum. “If the people of this town don’t rise up and stop this board, shame on them. This is very disappointing. They knew the purpose of this meeting was to pass the budget. They took an oath to do their job. I’m very concerned that they bowed out. This should not be tolerated.”
According to Turner, Lloyd’s meeting absence was because of possible COVID-10 contamination at Ferriday Hall because of a Satin Dolls dance camp.
Lloyd, in a statement to the Sentinel today (Wednesday) said her absence had nothing to do with the Satin Dolls or not wanting to pass the budget.
“As a public servant, I think it is pertinent that the community knows the truth,” Lloyd said. “On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, Ferriday City Council was scheduled to meet. However, the meeting didn’t take place due to not having a quorum. I did not attend the meeting because the building was not sanitized. COVID -19 cases are increasing in our community. Mayor Turner closed City Hall down due to three employees contracting the virus. In addition, a city council member contracted the virus after leaving the city council meeting in June.”
Bacon stated on her Facebook page last week that she did not attend because Ferriday Hall had not been sanitized and that last month she caught COVID-19 and brought it home to her son.
Bacon said she did not want to make any more comments.
Lloyd said Turner allowed the Satin Dolls Dance Team to practice in the building on the day of the meeting and the building wasn’t sanitized.
“I was not going to attend the meeting, putting myself in harm’s way given the recent closure of city hall and the increase of cases in our community,” Lloyd said. “I informed the mayor and his staff unless the building is sanitized I would not attend the meeting. My absence had nothing to do with the mayor’s budget. In fact, I informed the mayor that I approved the budget. I want to also clear the rumor that has been said that I didn’t want the Satin Dolls to practice in Ferriday Hall. That is not true. I support any activity our children are doing in the community that is constructive. I didn’t support having the meeting without the building being properly sanitized. Spraying micro ban or Lysol in the air is not sanitizing. If the mayor thought it was important to close the doors at City Hall due to COVID-19, why didn’t he think enough of the citizens and city council to have the building properly sanitized? Leadership protects. Leadership is proactive instead of being reactive.”
When contacted today (Wednesday), Turner said he is not going to call a special meeting to pass the budget.
“And if they didn’t want to meet at Ferriday Hall, we could have met at Town Hall,” Turner said. “I’m not going to spend taxpayer’s money for a special meeting when they can’t come to a regular meeting. All we had to do was pass the budget. There is no legitimate reason we could not get together. I am standing on my convictions. I’m not worried about all the talk. My main concern is passing the budget and cleaning up this town.”
Lloyd also took exception to a statement about a text and e-mail she was said to have sent out to town officials.
“It was also repeated that I sent a text and email out stating I didn’t want the Satin Dolls in the building; that information is false,” Lloyd said. “A city employee contacted me, and I told them why I would not attend the meeting which was the building not being sanitized.
“Each time I feel that Mayor Turner and I are on one accord and making strides, he finds a way to sabotage it with constant lies and manipulation. It appears that Mayor Turner uses me as a scapegoat and constantly throws me under the bus instead of taking responsibility for his actions and simply telling the truth. I’m disappointed in Mayor Turner and it concerns me that he has no problem lying to the citizens of our community, and he has no problem lying on me. I support Mayor Turner’s budget, but I do not support his behavior and constant lies. This is an endangerment to our community. Since the Turner Administration, I have been attacked like never before, and I will not be silent any longer. True leadership takes ownership for their actions and doesn’t double talk.”
Lloyd said leadership is about making decisions even if they are unpopular, but necessary to better the community.
“Mayor Turner tells one group one thing and another group another but never repeats the things that he says only to talk about both groups to each other,” Lloyd said. “In leadership, everyone is not going to like you. Mayor Turner is consistently being inconsistent. I’m only one vote. I don’t tell other council members how to vote nor do I allow anyone to tell me how to vote. I’m an independent thinker. I wasn’t the only city council member not to attend the meeting, but the attack is always on me. This is bullying, libel, slander and the mayor has created a hostile environment which makes me uncomfortable. It also makes me concerned not only as a public servant but as a citizen. However, I will not be intimidated nor will I be silent. If the mayor and some of his staff can just tell lies without hesitation what else would they try and do to me? If he can boldly tell lies, I can boldly speak the truth.”
“Mayor Turner has caused division in this community, city council, as well as with some of the staff at city hall. His main concern is who is repeating information to him and he feels that I’m the ring leader. I’m not the mayor’s enemy. I tell the mayor what he needs to hear and not what he wants to hear. If he felt strongly to shut the town hall down due to COVID-19, I have a right to feel strongly not to attend the city council meeting if the building isn’t sanitized.”
Lloyd said she also feels her age is being attacked.
“I’m a proud and blessed 73-year-old, in good health and in my right mind,” Lloyd said. “The only way you don’t get older is you don’t live to see the age. It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age. “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are ages 40 or older. Numerous citizens still work and active in their 70s. I’m constantly being harassed due to my age, and I’m not the oldest city council member. I need the mayor, some of his staff and others to come up with another attack besides my age. Leaders stand on facts, not on emotions and not harassing someone due to their age. I’m going to continue to defend our community and our citizens. I was elected to serve and I honor my commitment.”
“To that end, I wanted to address the community and let the citizens know the truth,” Lloyd said. “My absence at the meeting was not contingent upon the budget which I told the mayor I approved. It was not contingent upon I didn’t want the Satin Dolls to a practice. It was and still is contingent upon the building not being sanitized. I will continue to inform the citizens of the truth when false information is constantly shared.”