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Councilman loses his day job

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

BATON ROUGE – St. Charles Parish District 7 Councilman Bill Sirmon isn’tupset about losing his day job. He’s decided to remain in office, though,and said he feels he still has that job to do.

Sirmon was found by the Louisiana State Ethics Board to be in violation of the code of ethics for elected officials by his employment with a janitorial service doing business with the parish.

“I said I had no problem in making the choice,” Sirmon commented. “Myplans are to do sales with two different companies NOT doing work for the government,” he said. “I’m fine.”Beginning in summer of 1994, Sirmon was employed as a salesman for Quality Wholesale and Supply, which provides janitorial supplies and services to industries and businesses. He worked on a commission basisonly and had no ownership portion of the company.

He took office as a parish councilman in January 1996.

Since his taking office, according to the opinion issued last week by the Board of Ethics, Sirmon did not receive any commissions from Quality contracts with the parish. On Oct. 9, Sirmon left Quality.However, according to state law, a public official is prohibited from working for any person who has a contractual, business or financial relationship with his agency.

“In this particular situation, given the facts outlined above, along with the fact that Bill Sirmon fully cooperated with the investigation, that there was no financial or other loss to the governmental entity, and no financial or other gain to Mr. Sirmon derived from Quality Wholesale andSupply’s sales to St. Charles Parish, and that Mr. Sirmon voluntarilyterminated his employment with Quality Wholesale and Supply Inc., it isthe conclusion of the Board that this matter be closed upon publication of this opinion,” the commission’s opinion read.

Sirmon commented he was “caught in a technicality of the law” and added: “I was elected by the people to do a job, and I want to finish out my term.

I make the laws so I have to respect the laws.”His only bad feeling to come out of this was the desire to face his unidentified accuser, the person who called the Ethics Board on this matter. “When somebody charges an individual, they should make theirname public, too,” he said.

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