Incoming sheriff lays off 24

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by Katie Urbaszewski / Houma Courier

wwltv.com

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 7:25 AM

TERREBONNE PARISH, La. - The incoming Terrebonne Parish sheriff has informed 24 deputies and staff within the office that they will not have jobs when he begins working July 1.

Jerry Larpenter, the parish's sheriff for 22 years who opted out of running again in 2007 in order to run for parish president, said he informed Terrebonne Sheriff's Office personnel of the layoff and demotions by letters, which he mailed Tuesday. He said there were no promotions.

Larpenter said he made the decision with his transition team, made up of people he worked with as sheriff, in order to cut spending. He was not able to give a complete list of the people laid off Wednesday evening.

Those in the sheriff's office do not have civil service protection, so the deputies and staff laid off will lose their salaries and benefits at midnight July 1.

The office is "so top-heavy right now," Larpenter said. "You had majors doing absolutely nothing, in my opinion. You've got people who have no job descriptions. You have supervisors supervising supervisors, and I don't want that. I'm going to micromanage that office, the personnel and their finances. I have to do that."

Larpenter said he is concerned that he will not have enough money to run operations when he takes office.

Lafayette accountant Buzz Andersen, who has prepared budgets for both Bourgeois and Larpenter, said Bourgeois will leave office at the end of June with a surplus of $2.5 million to $4 million, depending on tax collections. That won't be enough to keep the Sheriff's Office running without cutting spending or taking out loans to pay employees.

According to a Courier report published in February, Bourgeois spent the nearly $9 million surplus that was there when Larpenter left office.

"If I'd have stayed there, this never would've happened," Larpenter said.

Check www.houmatoday.com or www.dailycomet.com for updates. Staff Writer Katie Urbaszewski can be reached at 448-7617 or katie.urbaszewski@dailycomet.com.

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