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The hiring a new police chief and contracts for garbage collection and water management are on the agenda when the Ferriday Town Council meets this week.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. Its regular monthly meeting was scheduled last week but postponed due to a lack of a quorum.

Only one alderman, Elijah “Stepper” Banks, showed up. Not in attendance were Andre Keys, Gloria Lloyd, Gail Pryor and Brandi Bacon.

"I've dealt with this kind of issue at Clayton so I know how to proceed," said Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner, who previously served as mayor of Clayton. "There are important issues we need to address. We're getting a number of calls from residents at town hall and we cannot take care of them if we don't have a quorum."

Items on the agenda include the appointment of a police chief and discussion of two contracts -- one with its garbage collector, WastePro, and another with the manager of its water system, JCP Management of Harrisonburg.

At the December meeting, the council voted against naming Interim Police Chief Herman Curry as permanent Chief of Police due to questions concerning the matter at a meeting in November.

Margaret Lawrence served as interim chief until November 24 after Turner took office in August.

At the meeting in December, Banks offered a motion to vote on hiring Curry after Turner recommended Curry as police chief.

After Banks made the motion to vote on the recommendation, alderwoman Brandi Bacon seconded the motion.

In a roll call vote, the motion failed 3-2. Gloria Lloyd voted no, Andre Keys voted no, Banks voted yes, Gail Pryor voted yes and Bacon voted no.

A discussion followed over whether Bacon could vote no if she seconded the motion.

Turner then announced that Curry was named chief by a 3-2 vote, which was followed by applause from the audience.

But Keys told Turner the vote was 3-2 against Curry.

During the discussion to follow, Bacon said she was new to the job as alderman and was unaware of how the process worked. She said she thought the council was voting on whether to consider the topic of hiring a police chief at the meeting, not specifically on whether to hire Curry.

Town attorney Philip Letard said he never faced such a situation but said he felt Bacon could not vote no.

Bacon then stepped outside to make a phone call. She returned saying she had talked to an attorney who said she was advised that she did was correct in what she did.

Letard repeated he had never faced anything like this before and the attorney Bacon talked to may be right. 

Letard said he was concerned about the process getting bogged down in legal action and also felt the board owed it to Curry to decide.

"The man needs to know where he stands," Letard said.

The board agreed to consider the motion again. Because he voted yes, Banks made the motion to vote again.

But there was no second and the motion died.

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