Waterproof’s chief of police and town clerk were dismissed Nov. 16 in a special-called noon town council meeting.
The former town clerk, Erica Crump, and former chief of police, Derrick Whitney, were terminated due to “inconsistence with their integrity,” said Waterproof Mayor Jarrod Bottley.
An internal investigation is ongoing concerning Crump, but the internal investigation for Whitney is complete, said Bottley.
Alderman Archie Turner Jr. said Crump’s dismissal came from mishandling of Waterproof’s business.
He said customer’s money orders dating back to 2018 were not being deposited and that tires purchased without authorization from Southern Tire Mart in Vidalia.
Records obtained by the Concordia Sentinel show two tires were purchased from Southern Tire Mart on Oct. 29 and charged to the Town of Waterproof.
Turner claims Whitney purchased the tires and had them put on Crump’s personal vehicle. A signature on the Southern Tire ticket was illegible.
Bottley said Whitney did go to Southern Tire Mart to get tires for Crump but the company made a mistake and put the Town of Waterproof on ticket instead of Crump’s name.
“It has been cleared up,” Bottley said. “She went up there and paid it on her credit card.”
Turner also claims Crump went back to town hall after being in executive session and erased possibly incriminating records from the town computer.
“The system for record keeping she had was horrible,” Turner said. “We been fighting it in our audit because they can’t find stuff.”
Waterproof has not completed a 2019 audit, according to Turner.
Waterproof is on the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s non-compliance list because of their 2019 audit.
“Our auditors are Silas Simmons out of Natchez,” Turner said. “They turned our audit in Nov. 2. The Louisiana Legislative Auditors sent it back because they requested more information. They wanted credit card receipts and payroll information.”
Even though Crump and Whitney were terminated, Bottley praised their time at Waterproof.
“Those two people have been phenomenal in my administration,” Bottley said.
Turner called Bottley’s handling of the situation, “light.”
“He didn’t even change the locks on the Town Hall,” Turner said.
Louisiana State Police is not involved in any Waterproof investigation, said Michael Reichardt, Louisiana State Police communications officer.
Peggy Turner will serve as interim town clerk while Kendra Barber will serve as interim chief of police.
Meanwhile, collections of Waterproof’s past utility bills are going well, Bottley said.
Past due bills totaling some $200,000 have been shrunk to $20,000, according to Bottley, blaming the majority of the high utility bills to “old and faulty” water meters.
Last year, individual amounts on the extensive list range from $12,255.60 to $638.88 while the majority of customers owe in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $4,000, according to June 2019 utility records.
To combat the $200,000 in past due bills, those named on the list were required to enroll in a utility payment plan February 1, 2019 according to village documents signed by Bottley. The payment plan was added to their regular monthly utility bills of customers with past due bills.
The payment plan was in accordance with a previous ordinance unanimously passed during Mayor Caldwell Flood Jr.’s administration that went into effect January 8, 2018.
Customers with a balance of $501 or greater qualified for a six-month payment plan. Those with a balance of $1,001 to $2,000 were given 12 months, $2,001 to $3,000 18 months and $3,001 and above 24 months, according to the ordinance.
If a person declined to enroll in the monthly payment plan their utility services were terminated, and they had to make a full payment to have services restored, according to the ordinance. All payments were required by the 25th of each month and on the 26th services were disconnected.