Board Vice-President Robert Berry gave the Police Jury a list of charges against Scott which you can view here.
Board President David Brian and Berry resigned their positions, and the Police Jury asked the remaining three board members for their resignations. An interim board made up of five Police Jurors was appointed to act in the meantime.
The Police Jury obtained the services of attorney Price Barker to investigate the charges. This is a summary of the results of Barker’s investigation.
New Areas of Concern
1. Biloxi Trip: March 15 – March 17, 2011 Southern Regional EMS Conference. Concern was that Scott paid for Duke Scott’s room and meals. The City of Bossier City has since reimbursed Bossier Parish EMS for the room, and Duke Scott has reimbursed the meals.
2. Also on the Biloxi trip, alcoholic beverages were purchased with meals and charged to the card.
3. $40 ad in the Press Tribune for Meschelle White on Administrative Assistant’s day.
4. Paid for flowers for his mother-in-law’s funeral in April using the credit card.
5. Credit card usage by Richard Gray, a mechanic employed by Bossier Parish EMS with no explanation as to what was purchased. Charges were $57.69 at Sears in Bossier and $479.98 at Best Buy in Bossier.
6. The credit card was also charge for $45 at a Dallas hotel and a $140 charge on PayPal.
Charges made by Mr. Berry
1. Unauthorized Raises included an 11% raise for Richard Gray, bringing his bi-weekly pay from $2,430.30 to $2,703.91.
2. A 6% raise for Ronnie Hall, bringing his bi-weekly pay from $2,497.63 to $2,647.59.
3. A 6% raise for Stephen Braidwood, bringing his bi-weekly pay from $2,430.46 to $2,579.07.
4. A 101% raise for Stephen McManus from $1,315.97 to $2,658.25. McManus went from part-time to full-time. Mr. Barker says that this was not approved by the board, but it was at least discussed in one meeting, according to the minutes.
The individuals received the raises for 4 pay periods from January thru March, at which time they were rescinded.
Mr. Barker says that Scott’s actions in giving the raises was inconsistent with the authority given to the Board to set the EMS budget every year.
Duxie Scott says that raises never required approval of the board previously, that the board set his salary and the budget. He, as director, set the salaries of employees and as long as payroll was within the budgeted amount, this was considered to be board approval.
1. Mr. Scott hired two mechanics, Richard Gray and David Ham. Richard Gray is paid $59,494 and David Ham $22,439. The report notes that there is no evidence that either of these mechanics is certified. Another concern is that David Ham is a convicted felon.
2. Meschelle White was employed as an EMT and later as a paramedic. After an ankle injury in 2009, she was brought into the office to do secretarial work. Mrs. White’s salary is $48,188. The secretary who preceded Mrs. White was hired at $26,250. There is no documentation that says that Mrs. White can no longer work as a paramedic, so the question is why she is being paid a paramedic’s salary to do office work if she is capable of doing the paramedic job.
3. This appears to be at odds with past practices, where background checks have been run and applicants refused because of convictions. David Ham is Meschelle White’s son.
4. The report notes that in March 2009, the Louisiana Ethics Board fined Superior Motorsports and Auto Repair LLC for doing $19,199.32 in business with the EMS board. Superior is owned by the wife of Duxie Scott’s brother. The company paid a $2,500 fine. The board noted that Duxie Scott was not in violation because he did not make the decisions as to where to send the vehicles for work and maintenance.
5. It has also been reported that there were ethics violations due to nepotism. There are no records dealing with this, however, because ethics complaints are not public record. One of the individuals named was Duke Scott (Duxie Scott Jr, who is currently on the BCFD). The finding of the ethics board in this case was released by the Scott family, and shows that no violation occurred.
Missing Construction Material
1. Questions were raised regarding metal roofing materials that were allegedly missing from the yard of the EMS facility on Shed Road. They were materials from the temporary roof that was placed on the building after the tornado. The materials have been found, but the question raised in the report is why weren’t they sold for scrap rather than just being hauled away.
1. In late 2010 a new ambulance was purchased. The report states that questions have arisen about the bidding process, but doesn’t elaborate. The generator on the ambulance was upgraded, but the old one was not turned in for credit. Richard Gray stated that he likes to keep extra generators around. He did admit that he used the old generator in constructing a deck at his church. Gray also returned some items that he said he was storing at this house. The report says that this brings into question the supervision of EMS equipment by Director Scott.
That concludes the information from the report.
The board met on May 11 and accepted Duxie Scott's resignation.
Evodna Springer addressed the board in the meeting and noted in her statement that “It was as if you did major surgery on a problem that needed only a bandage.” You can read her entire statement here.
It was announced last December that Sammy Halphen would be accepting the job of Homeland Security Director for Bossier Parish. Nothing I write here is a reflection on Halphen in any way, he is a highly qualified professional.
Peggy Hayes addressed the board at the meeting yesterday, and asked about allegations made by a previous board member in a special meeting that was held in March. The former board member said that the board was ordered to hire Halphen.
Halphen was hired to replace Duxie Scott. Bill Altimus said as much in the video above. He came to work for the parish as Homeland Security Director, but his pay was to be $65,000 from the EMS Board and $15,000 supplement from the parish. The EMS board was charged monthly for his salary as a consultant.
In the meantime, all of the above charges and investigation played out and Duxie Scott offered his resignation. It was certain that he would have been terminated at the May 11th meeting had he not done so.
Bill Altimus said that the EMS Board came to him about hiring Halphen, and that it was done at their behest. He stated that at no time did the police jury order the EMS Board to hire him.
I have been unable to find any minutes of a meeting where the Board authorized anyone to approach Halphen and offer him the position. Perhaps I have just missed it, if someone can point me to them I would be appreciative.
I think the biggest puzzle in the whole thing is why the EMS Board or the Police Jury, since they thought they had cause, did not just terminate Scott and replace him with Halphen at the first of the year, as that was clearly their stated intention. Had they just done it in that straightforward manner, they could have accomplished their goal without all of the fanfare and brouhaha that resulted.