Lafayette Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper Files Complaint Against Board Member Mark Babineaux
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- The ongoing dispute between the Lafayette Parish School Board and school system Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper continues.
Cooper filed a complaint against board member Mark Babineaux over comments he made at the Nov. 20 regular meeting during which Cooper said he divulged details of an executive session of the board held on Oct. 16.
By state law, executive sessions are closed to the public, and proceedings of such meetings are kept private.
In his written complaint dated Nov. 22 to the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, Cooper said "Babineaux, in open session and documented on TV cameras broadcasting to the community and surrounding area, divulged the activities and comments that were discussed in the Executive Session."
The disciplinary board responded to Cooper's request on Dec. 11, advising him the matter had been assigned to Deputy Disciplinary Counsel Tammy Pruet Northrup. The response also said the disciplinary board's "function is limited to the investigation of possible violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Louisiana State Bar Association," and that it could not advise Cooper of his legal rights, nor could it intervene in any pending legal actions.
Babineaux is an attorney at his own law firm.
According to the Daily Advertiser, the executive session in question was over a $5,100 legal bill from attorney Lane Roy. Cooper had hired Roy to "advise him on on the responsibilities of boards and superintendents," the Advertiser reported.
Board attorney Roger Hamilton recommended going into executive session to discuss who would pay the legal bill, and it was that session that Cooper said Babineaux made reference to during the Nov. 20 meeting.
“We went into a meeting...specifically asked him if he was going to interpret the contract before us, he said no and asked if information we would give him on the investigation," Babineaux said at that regular meeting. "He said no...There’s definitely a conflict of interest, not with the DA’s office, with this particular district attorney.”
- Cooper files disciplinary complaint against school board member Babineaux / The Advertiser
- Cooper files complaint against board member / KATC-TV 3
[via KPEL, Daily Advertiser]