Council won't seek appeal on district court judgment

Members also mull buy-sell agreement with water district, garage sales for non-profits

LEESVILLE -- The City of Leesville won't seek an appeal on a judgment on a firefighter's suit against the city.

A state district court judge ruled in favor of the firefighter, who sought vacation leave compensation.

The Leesville City Council on Monday went behind closed doors to discuss the suit. The panel took a vote after returning to open session, and decided not to take the ruling to the 3rd Circuit appeals panel. The council discussed a second suit Monday behind closed doors regarding a firefighter seeking compensation for sick leave.

In recent years, several suits have been filed over firefighter compensation issues, including one in federal court.

In 2012, 12 firefighters filed a federal suit against the city regarding wages. Firefighters alleged that for years, the city "committed various violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act relative to its failure to pay complainants overtime wages required by law ..."

Also on Monday, the council:

-- Adopted an ordinance to set in motion a buy-sell agreement with the East Central Vernon Water System. The purchase is part of the city's endeavor to expand infrastructure along La. 467 as part of a growth plan. Members on Monday also voted to introduce an ordinance to extend the moratorium on all construction along La 467 for a period of two months. Leesville Mayor Robert Rose said the moratorium was passed to give city and parish planners time to develop land use plans and zoning ordinances. He said the city's portion is projected to be completed in coming weeks.

-- Introduced an ordinance that, if approved, would allow non-profits and churches to gain an exception to hold garage sales in non-residential areas of the city. The city's current ordinance restricts garage sales to residential areas. Rose said he has been approached by several non-profits about holding garage sales as benefits. A public hearing on the issue will be held late this month. Rose said the city's ordinance was crafted with the intent of preventing the city from "turning into one giant flea market."

-- Heard from Leesville resident Earnest Kickel, who said he felt the Leesville Police Department should increase patrols in residential areas. Kickel said improved street lighting is also needed throughout the city. He said he felt a "proactive" approach is needed, rather than a "reactive" one when it comes to law enforcement matters in the city.

-- Recognized Natasha Wilkerson, city clerk, as employee of the month. Wilkerson has held the post for about a year. "She has stepped up to the plate, taken on the duties in the most gracious manner," said Courtney Christian, city administrator.

-- Reappointed Reginald Seastrunk to the Leesville Housing Authority Board.

-- Heard from Sam Kincade, Leesville Main Street Manager, who said entries are rolling in for the annual Mardi Gras Gumbo Cookoff, slated this year for Saturday, March 1. You can find more information on the city's Mardi Gras events HERE.
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Sandy Blackwell