Chief wants her salary
SORRENTO - The new police chief attended Thursday's town council meeting, set on getting her salary even though voters shutdown her department two days earlier.
Fern Barnett won the election for Sorrento's chief of police by default when other candidates resigned ahead of the election. The department has no officers, no budget and voters approved shutting it down.
By law, the town has to pay the chief a salary of $37,810. But, when it came time to vote on the measure at the council meeting, Councilman Randy Anny was the only one willing to move forward. The rest of the members sat silent.
"I agree," said Mayor Mike Lambert. "She has no police department, she doesn't even have a plan of what she's going to do. Why pay somebody? But by law, I will follow the law."
Lambert said he's still wary of paying Barnett after the people voted to dismantle the force. Tuesday, 66 percent of voters approved a measure to abolish the police department.
Barnett is still deciding whether or not she'll resign as chief.
"I don't have to make a decision until I'm ready," she told the council.
Councilman Patti Poche asked Barnett if she has any plans as chief.
"Right now, I don't have any," said Barnett.
Lambert called it shameful to collect a salary for a position that is pointless. Barnett sees it differently, and said she will keep the job until she decides otherwise.
Barnett did not want to comment Thursday. Instead, she quickly left through a back door and closed it shut.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office is handling patrols in the town.