MONROE, LA. - The latest City of Monroe 2013-2014 budget item to cause a stir is the replacement of City Engineer Sinyale Morrison, currently indicted for payroll fraud.
For now, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says the city is relying on a part-time engineer and he says the city council is considering keeping it that way, taking the money for a full-time engineer and putting it somewhere else, something Mayo thinks is wrong.
"When you look at a city the size of the City of Monroe, you can't have a part-time engineer," Mayo said. "These projects that we have going on, there would be a tremendous lapse if we try to operate with what we have now."
Mayo says the part-time move would be a violation of the city charter which has stood since 1979.
He adds that the part-time move is in a line of charter violations, including the council's decision to place city official term limits on the ballot for vote.
"To change this would create some divisiveness, which would not be good," Mayo said. "I think it would create some polarization. There's going to be polarization from the community because I think the community would take sides."
The mayor says some of these budget moves bring the question of power into the mix.
"It appears that they're not satisfied with the role and responsibilities and the power set by the charter," said Mayo. "They're wanting more power and that's just simply not good."
Another meeting looking over all of the budget items is coming up and Mayo hopes he and the council can work it out.
"We just need to work together and see what changes we need to make and not just make, arbitrarily, changes just because we can," he said.
NBC 10/KARD Fox 14 News tried calling several members of the council to get their views on how the budget hearings have been going but none of them would interview with us on Friday.