Six Lafayette Parish School Board members violated their own policy Wednesday night by terminating their relationship with the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, begging the question: Must they now reprimand themselves?
Wednesday’s agenda included an introductory item to eliminate the board's “legal services” policy, in addition to a resolution calling for the termination of its relationship with the DA’s office. Board member Greg Awbrey, however, pulled the item to eliminate the Legal Services policy, which names the DA’s office as the board’s, and by inclusion the entire system's, official legal counsel.
But even after leaving the legal services policy in place, the board went ahead with its vote to fire the DA’s office, passing the measure in a 6-3 vote, leaving Kermit Bouillion, Shelton Cobb and Mark Cockerham in the minority. The legal counsel offered by the DA’s office, it must be noted, was free of charge.
Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper, who was reprimanded by the board this summer for an alleged policy violation over his refusal to fire Thad Welch because he lacked a high school diploma, as is required by Welch's job description, is now asking what consequences the board will face for routinely breaking its own policies.
Cooper’s reprimand is at the center of the board’s decision to fire the DA’s office (read more here) after Assistant District Attorney Roger Hamilton — the board and system's appointed legal counsel — wrote the AG’s office saying no investigation was warranted of the superintendent. Therefore, stated Hamilton, AG approval of the board’s request to hire an outside law firm to conduct the investigation was no longer needed.
Considering the board has been so gung-ho with its reprimand and attempt to investigate Cooper, it would seem only fair for it to hold itself to the same level of accountability.
That, however, would mean reprimanding themselves.
In other business, the board took no action on a resolution calling for a sales and property tax referendum in May. More on that tomorrow.