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Vermilion Parish Board eliminates legal counsel position

Posted at 10:29 PM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 17:32:51-04

The Vermilion Parish School Board has voted to eliminate the position of Risk Manager/ Legal Counsel.

Superintendent Jerome Puyau says that this vote on Thursday could put the board in jeopardy for future litigation.

Puyau says that the board on Thursday “usurped his authority as superintendent” by using the budget to ultimately force Puyau fire an employee.

The board has no authority to fire an employee and this vote puts that board at risk for litigation from that employee and from Puyau.

If he follows through with firing this individual, Puyau says that the board would likely terminate him for violating provisions of his contract for firing an employee without cause. Because of this, Puyau says that the employee is now in “limbo” and cannot be assigned to another position.

Puyau says that funding for a new attorney is not available. Discussion on hiring new counsel was also on the agenda.

Some who attended the meeting Thursday said the board has only one agenda.

“It’s always the same changes… it’s always the same agenda against one man, that’s Puyau. They have a personal agenda against Puyau,” Raymond Frederick said.

After the meeting, an argument broke out between the lawyer hired by the school board and Superintendent Puyau’s attorney.

Puyau stepped in to keep the peace between Lane Roy and Robert Hammonds. An officer stood between the two as the argument played out.

The board voted to hire Hammonds, Sills, Adkins and Guice as their counsel despite another vote removing a budget line item for legal counsel.

Video of that encounter is below: