The Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted earlier this week to reboot its search for a new director at the Green Oaks Juvenile Detention Center in Monroe after deciding none of the current candidates met the necessary qualifications.
The Police Jury voted, 4-2, to reopen the application process for 30 days. Earlier this month, police jurors delayed making a decision on the current pool of applicants.
Police Juror Lonnie Hudson opposed the delay earlier this month and urged his fellow jurors on Monday to pick from the current pool of applicants. Interim director Jesse Williams is preparing to leave, parish officials said. Williams took over as interim director after former director Kendrick Rochelle resigned this summer.
“We need to stop prolonging this and move forward,” Hudson said. “I sure would hate for something to happen when we don’t have anyone in place.”
Police Jury President Shane Smiley disputed the need to immediately hire an applicant by arguing the parish deserved have the “correct person for the job.”
“I think we need to take a serious look at our applicants, and consider reopening our application process to find candidates with experience in the management of a juvenile detention center,” Smiley said.
According to Smiley, having a criminal justice degree was not enough to qualify an applicant for the job of supervising juvenile delinquents.
“I think we would do ourselves justice by trying to attract another round of candidates,” Smiley said. “Let’s be sure we’re getting the right candidate.”
Hudson appeared to argue that an applicant with past experience as a school principal met the position’s qualifications.
Like Smiley, Police Juror Larry Bratton also expressed concern about hiring someone who did not have experience managing juvenile delinquents.
“If we open this back up, it does not stop any applicant from applying again,” said Police Juror Scotty Robinson.
Smiley, Bratton, Robinson and Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit voted in favor of reopening the parish’s call for applications. Hudson and Police Juror Michael Thompson Sr. voted against the move.