At the Lafayette Parish School Board meeting Wednesday, a mixed bag of decisions. One thing is for sure – legal advice is what everyone seems to be seeking. Dr. Pat Cooper says one of his employees has sought legal counsel “Mr. Welch has been defamed and his character assassinated. His privacy has been violated.”
It's been a heated battle for the Superintendent for the past couple of months. The Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Grounds and Transportation was hired without the required high school diploma. “Think about it, about the high school diploma. Who would you rather have? Somebody with a high school diploma and ripping you all off, the taxpayers,” explains system employee David Fontenot.
“I don't understand why you don't want to make that a requirement. you are telling kids that a high school diploma is not important,” adds concerned resident Patti Carter. The board approve a policy requiring school system consultants to have a high school diploma.
The author of the policy is board member Tehmi Chassion. The change at first brought up a few concerns from the Director of Human Resources. “Under EEOC regulations; if you have a disporportionate impact on a group of people because of a rule you have, then that could be deemed discriminatory,” says Bruce Leininger.
Chief financial officer Billy Guidry says the new policy will affect who's on the payroll right now…but the details will have to be ironed out. “It's hard to say until we sit down and take a look at it.” Dr. Pat Cooper had his own reservations. “I didn't think there was a problem with anything. So I'm not sure what we're trying to fix, but since they done it we got a lot of work to do now,” says Cooper.
The board voted to seek legal advice from the attorney general about cutting a board approved budget for a position Dr. Cooper. The board is concerned that a loop hole to terminate an employee could be in violation of the superintendent's sole power to hire and fire.