West Monroe voters will entertain two candidates for West Monroe City Marshal in the Nov. 3 election, including the incumbent, William Guyton, and his sole opponent, John Rutledge Jr.
Each candidate is a Republican from West Monroe.
Early voting for the Nov. 3 election begins Friday and continues until Oct. 27.
Guyton was elected to the marshal’s office in 1991.
“This is my 30th year,” Guyton said. “The voters asked me to run the first time. The voters asked me to run again this time. That’s basically the reason I’m running, to support and do what needs to be done. They know they can count on me to give an answer, any time, day or night. I have an open-door policy in my office.”
In an apparent reference to his opponent’s plans to place deputy marshals in uniforms and marked vehicles if elected, Guyton said the city marshal’s office was not a police department
“We already have an excellent police department in the city,” Guyton said. “The city marshal’s office provides civil services, court security and serves civil papers. If someone has a disagreement, we serve the parties to get each one in the court to resolve their dispute.”
Rutledge said he became a candidate for city marshal to bring integrity and professionalism to the office. In his remarks to The Ouachita Citizen, Rutledge outlined a few criticisms of Guyton’s office.
“Service to the public is the main area where we could improve, especially paper service and eviction service,” Rutledge said. “Saving the taxpayers’ money also is an area for improvement. The city is currently having to pay overtime to officers in the courtroom because adequate bailiffs are not being provided. We plan to place qualified deputies in the courtroom to correct that issue.”
In response, Guyton said West Monroe City Court Judge Jim Norris’ decision to hire police officers to provide security in the courtroom was “extra.”
“He’s the one who chooses that, and he has the discretion to choose,” Guyton said. “When attorneys enter our courtroom, they feel safe. City court may be just a misdemeanor court but that doesn’t mean that misdemeanor offenders can’t get crazy.”