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February 06, 2021

Attorney General Opinion Issued in Franklinton Dispute

"The mayor of Franklinton does not have the authority to appoint or remove town officers without the approval of the board of aldermen", states the Louisiana Attorney General Opinion #21-0006 dated February 5, 2021.

At the first meeting of the new Franklinton Mayor and Board of Aldermen held Tuesday (January 12, 2021) evening, Franklinton Police Chief Justin Brown was replaced by Olander Smith. The decision was made by Mayor Greg Route. It was opposed by three of the five Aldermen: Seth Descant, Heath Spears, and Darwin Sharp.

Route maintained that he has the authority to name his Administrative Staff, a position supported by the Town's attorney James Knight who was also appointed by Route at the meeting. Administrative Staff positions include Municipal Clerk, Chief of Police, Town Attorney, Code Enforcement Officer, and Court Magistrate. Aldermen Descant, Spears, and Sharp contended that the Mayor's appointments must have confirmation by the Board of Aldermen. The Aldermen voted to request an Attorney General Opinion to help resolve the dispute and the Mayor was asked to delay the appointments until the Opinion was received. Mayor Route declined to delay his appointments.

The Attorney General Opinion is provided below. Click here for background articles and video.

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