LIVINGSTON PARISH, La (FOX44) — Taking on the top position in Livingston Parish has led to long hours and busy days for Layton Ricks, but he says he loves his new job.
"I'm enjoying working with the people," he says. "We're trying to honor what we talked about in the campaign. We're trying to meet with as many people as possible."
However, it hasn't been smooths sailing for the new parish president. Ricks has been at odds with the parish council.
"We don't hate one another personally," he says. "We're just simply at odds over this particular check."
Within the first days on the job, Ricks signed a check to his former employer, Alvin Fairburn and Associates, for more than $453,000. That was for work the company did for the parish's road program.
"They did the work. We've paid other bills that were due and we're still paying bills from 2011 that are coming in," Ricks explains. "If you contract out, you pay and that's what we're doing."
The previous parish council had approved that bill to be paid, but now, the new council has raised questions over whether Ricks was in the right.
"We were within our rights to sign the check. The bill was owed," Ricks says.
Now, the parish council has filed a friendly lawsuit against his administration. He's hoping they can work something out.
"That's spending a lot of taxpayer dollars that at the end of the day are not going to change anything," Ricks says. "I'm hoping we can find a resolution to get past that."
Ricks says he's ready to move forward and focus on other issues facing Livingston Parish. "I am sorry that it has angered the council members because we want to work with them and we're going to continue to do that. I think we'll get past this and we'll work together."