Former interim Gretna city manager, Kenneth Barber, is back on the job after being fired one month ago by city commissioners. Shock, anger and dismay are some of the words from residents. They now want commissioners to hire a permanent city manager to bring the city up to par.
King Wright is one of several Gretna residents who are angry over the rehiring of Kenneth Barber as Gretna's interim city manager. Wright says the city is paying Barber $2,000 biweekly for merely working a few hours.
King Wright says, "We can’t afford to give that away when we have people in the city who can do the same job until we put someone in place."
Commissioner Helen Frank voted against rehiring Barber, citing his past problems with the city.
"When he was here he would come as he pleases two hours later and the staff had to run the office. It's not fair to the citizens and that's definitely not fair to our budget," says Helen.
Still, the mayor contends Barber was rehired to help audit the books.
Earnest Barkley, Gretna Mayor, says, "If we don't get an audit then nobody will be able to supervise nobody. We wont pay folks, so what were trying to do is move forward with the auditing.”
Residents like Dorothy Hughes believe the mayor may have ulterior motives for hiring Barber.
"I think it was a deception to get Mr. Hayes back into office rather than go through the voting process. We want somebody to know this," says Dorothy.
Mayor Barkley says Barber will be on the job for just 90 days. They're now advertising for a new city manager as we speak. Mr. Barber is an accountant by trade. The mayor says they are three years behind in their audits and they need to get the books together.