Jun 18, 2013 10:20 PM by Tina Macias
Lafayette schools superintendent says he changed his mind late Tuesday and will allow his job evaluation to be held in public tomorrow. He did not give a reason for the change, but it comes after he told KATC today that he would ask for the evaluation to be private.
Lafayette Parish schools superintendent Pat Cooper will receive a job evaluation during a Lafayette Parish School Board meeting on Wednesday. It will be his first evaluation since he took office in 2012, but discussion about his job performance will not be open to the public.
Cooper says he will ask for the board's evaluation of him to be in closed session, a break from tradition. The superintendent that preceded Cooper, Burnell Lemoine, routinely allowed his annual evaluation to be held during an open school board meeting.
"It's time for us to have some really good discussion, and I think that might be inhibited if it's open," Cooper says.
Because the evaluation is a personnel issue exempt from the open meetings law, it is the superintendent's decision whether to hold the evaluation in an open or closed meeting.
Closing the evaluation to the public also would be a break from Cooper's track record of keeping job performance discussions in the open. Earlier this year when the school board reprimanded Cooper for keeping his special assistant Thad Welch employed despite Welch's lack of a high school diploma, Cooper chose to keep that discuss open to the public.
But this time is different, Cooper says. The relationship between Cooper and the school board has become tense and sometimes combative in recent months.
"I'm really looking forward to us having a really substantive conversation of how I can do better and how they can do better," Cooper says. "It takes both sides of the coin here if we're going to have a good district."
In preparation for the evaluation, each of the nine school board members filled out a written evaluation about Cooper. Board members Rae Trahan and Mark Cockerham were chosen to compile the results of those evaluations.