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|Sterlington aldermen fire Hodnett|
By a unanimous vote, the Sterlington Board of Aldermen terminated assistant police chief Vince Hodnett Tuesday night at the board of aldermen's regular meeting.
The board did not give a specific reason for firing Hodnett, who had been accused of forging the signature of a Sterlington property owner over an annexation issue. A Ouachita Parish grand jury was convened but did not hand down an indictment in the matter.
Alderman Cliff Bullock, a former mayor of Sterlington, moved for Hodnett's immediate termination in spite of Hodnett's attorney, Speed Jackson, saying the termination would "end up in fighting."
"We know that's coming anyway," said Bullock. "That's not even a consideration."
Before the board voted to fire Hodnett, Jackson was allowed to speak on his client's behalf.
Jackson noted the absence of Police Chief Barry Bonner.
"I would think with something this important you'd want everyone here," Jackson said. "We're talking about taking a man's livelihood away."
Jackson also suggested his client may pursue legal recourse over his termination because it was questionable whether the board received Bonner's recommendation to fire Hodnett.
Town attorney Brian Racer informed aldermen of a state statute that required them to hear Bonner's opinion on terminating Hodnett's employment.
However, Racer said the law was not clear on what form that recommendation must take or whether it should be presented in a formal meeting of the aldermen or in passing.
Bullock said it was "very clear where the chief stands" because he had previously stated his support for Hodnett.
Bonner "knew what this meeting tonight was about," Bullock said.