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.
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.