Mar 5, 2013 10:55 PM by Steven Albritton
Over the past year, Thad Welch has been in charge of grounds and maintenance at schools across Lafayette Parish
"Our facilities are much cleaner than they were before. Work orders are not backed up like they have been in the past, and anytime we have personal issues we just simply pick up the phone and call him. Within minutes he's here and he's able to solve those issues," Lafayette Middle School Principal Monique Magee said.
Magee says, thanks to Welch and his work, she and her staff have been able to focus more on the needs of students. For example, instead of spending four or five hours trying to handle custodial issues; they can focus on class work and test scores. Welch has even made himself available on the weekends.
"We had a problem at school. I called Thad. I guess it must have been about 9:45 a.m. I was shocked. It must have been about fifteen minutes later he called me back and he apologized for not calling sooner, but he was in church. It was nice to have that kind of service especially on a Sunday," Magee said.
These are exactly the results Dr. Pat Cooper was hoping to get. He worked with Welch for ten years at a much smaller school district in Mississippi.
"I got to see him work for ten years. I knew what kind of a person he was. Unless we could find somebody better here, that's the man I wanted." Dr. Cooper said.
The results Welch has provided in about a year of service have already made this school district a better place for both students and teachers.
"When I got here I knew there were a lot of things going on that shouldn't go on. People not working. People were reporting early and clocking in early. Others were getting extra time and getting overtime they shouldn't have got. There were materials and supplies missing. He's cleaned all that up. We have a system now that runs the way it's supposed to run," Dr. Cooper said.
Dr. Cooper stands by his hire despite the controversy. While the school board can't hire or fire, the board will consider eliminating funding for Welch's position at Wednesday night's meeting