15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson

The Lafayette Parish School Board decided during Tuesday’s special meeting to restart the process of selecting an administrator for the school system’s health benefits program.

During Tuesday’s special meeting — called by Board President Shelton Cobb to address all the confusion caused by this year’s selection process — the board received a stern tongue lashing from 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson for not following Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law on Oct. 2 when it moved an introductory agenda item to action and then voted to award the contract to Key Benefits Administrators. The board responded Tuesday by voting 6-2 to void the contract, resign a one-year deal with its existing administrator, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, and restart the process by reissuing a Request for Proposals. Voting for the measure were board members Cobb, Kermit Bouillion, Mark Cockerham, Mark Allen Babineaux, Greg Awbrey and Tommy Angelle, while those against included Tehmi Chassion and Rae Trahan. Board member Hunter Beasley was not in attendance.

One item not addressed Tuesday was whether or not the meeting was in line with proper parliamentary procedure as defined by Robert’s Rules of Order, which the board does ascribe. As reported Tuesday afternoon by The IND, Robert’s Rules are fairly clear when it comes to the handling of postponed issues.

The board voted unanimously during its Oct. 16 meeting to make a final decision on the insurance issue at its next regular meeting on Nov. 2 meeting, but on Friday, a decision was made to convene Tuesday’s special meeting. Based on our interpretation of Robert’s Rules, in order for the matter to be addressed legitimately during Tuesday’s meeting, the board would have had to specify that date during its Oct. 16 meeting. That, however, was not the case.

Here’s what Robert’s Rules says on the matter (emphasis is ours):

The time to which a question is postponed must fall within the session or the next session, and, if it is desired to postpone it to a different time, which must not be beyond the next regular session, it is necessary first to fix the time for an adjourned meeting, and then the question may be postponed to that meeting.

When a question has been postponed to a certain time, it becomes an order of the day for that time and cannot be taken up before that time except by a reconsideration.
Read more here.

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