Patterson council passes on vehicle policy

Injured volunteer firefighter and auxiliary police officer Travis Boudier is the marshal for the Patterson Christmas parade. (Daily Review Photo by Courtney Darce)

The City Council decided it did not tackle a policy regarding the use of city vehicles during Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The use of city automobiles was discussed during a Monday workshop, but the council did not arrive at a consensus.
Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan grounded city vehicles from leaving the city limits after work hours with an emailed policy change effective Sept. 19. This policy primarily affected police units, several of which were being brought home by officers who lived outside of the city limits.
Police Chief Patrick LaSalle attended the Monday workshop and insisted the safety of the city was at stake as he requested to allow eight special response units to be taken home at the end of the officers’ shifts, although they live out of town. He later insisted any financial savings gained by keeping the units in Patterson is outweighed by a degraded ability to respond effectively in an emergency.
Steve Bierhorst, director of public works, said he performed an analysis of police fuel expenditures in the month after the units were grounded. The report showed the city saves about 1,000 gallons of fuel monthly by keeping the cars in the city when officers’ shifts expire, he said. The police department could save nearly $40,000 annually in fuel and maintenance expenses if the cars remain in the city, he said.
LaSalle said that is a small price to pay for the security he insists is given with the officers keeping their units. He added that expenditures of his budget for automobile usage is within his discretion.
LaSalle told council members at the Monday workshop that he will adopt whatever policy they choose but he asked that he get a resolution to the issue one way or the other as quickly as possible.
The council will resume its workshops at 3:30 today at the Town Hall.
In other matters Tuesday:
—Beverly Domengeaux, executive director of St. Mary Council on Aging, said she appreciated the financial support of Patterson in serving 112 elderly citizens in Patterson citizens were served by her agency despite a cut in state funding.
—City Attorney Russel Cremaldi was given a contract to serve as the city attorney for $500 monthly and a $175 hourly rate.
—Grogan announced the city’s Christmas parade will be Dec. 13 with Travis Bourdier as the marshal.
Bourdier was a volunteer firefighter and auxiliary police officer for Patterson when he was injured Sept. 28 in Morgan City. He suffered two broken legs after being hit by a vehicle while he was helping direct traffic from another crash.
The lieutenants for the parade will be Brady Como and Jackie Como.

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