The process of formally charging Superintendent Pat Cooper was put into motion Thursday night following a recommendation from the attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation.
Attorney Dennis Blunt cited 10 instances in which Cooper may have violated state law or board policy. His presentation was followed by a 6-3 vote of the board authorizing him to begin preparing formal charges.
“During the tenure of Dr. Cooper as superintendent, there has been conduct, in my opinion, unbecoming of the professional instructional leader of the Lafayette Parish School System,” Blunt told the board.
It’s unclear when Blunt will present the formal charges to the board, but once that happens, a provision in Cooper’s contract allows him an additional 20 days to prepare a response before the board is allowed the opportunity to initiate termination proceedings.
What’s troubling about this situation is that three of the board members who have consistently pushed for Cooper’s investigation, and ultimately his termination, are leaving their seats come January. This group includes Mark Allen Babineaux, Greg Awbrey and Rae Trahan.
The termination of a superintendent is big, and a decision of this magnitude should arguably be left to the new board seated in January, as the responsibility of the school system will rest on their shoulders, not the three board members who have decided to jump ship. Likewise, these three board members have been opposed to Cooper’s superintendency from the very start, and the outcome of Thursday’s report by Blunt shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering he was hired, and paid, by a board with an ulterior motive to remove Cooper, even if that’s the last action they make as board members. So ultimately, Blunt was giving his clients what they wanted — a report catered toward meeting one specific end: the ouster of a superintendent.
Another aspect to this story is the federal lawsuit filed by Cajundome director Greg Davis and his attorney Gary McGoffin, which calls for the disqualification of board members Tehmi Chassion and Mark Allen Babineaux from voting on any measures related to Cooper’s employment. The suit lays out a series of examples detailing the bias of each board member toward the superintendent. It’s unclear when this matter will go before the court, but it could play a role in stopping the effort to fire Cooper, or at least in delaying the issue long enough for the seating of a new board in January.
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Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
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By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.