MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

337 Napoleon Street

New Roads, LA  70760

 

SPECIAL SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

Thursday, March 6, 2014

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board held a special meeting on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 337 Napoleon Street in New Roads Louisiana 70760.  Mr. Frank Aguillard, Jr., President, called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m.

 

Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Ann Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, Anita LeJeune and Thomas Nelson were the School Board members that were present when the roll was called.

 

Mr. James Cline led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

 

Mr. Larry Bossier was requested to offer the invocation.

- - - -

Tenure Hearing for School Bus Operator.  President Frank Aguillard stated the purpose of this special School Board meeting is to conduct a tenure hearing in accordance with La. R.S. 17:493 for Mr. Roger Dixon.  At the request of Mr. Aguillard, the attorneys introduced themselves for purposes of the record.  Mr. Yegal Bander introduced himself as Mr. Roger Dixon’s attorney; Attorney Robert L. Hammonds stated he will be representing Superintendent D’Amico during the proceedings.  Mr. Larry Bossier introduced himself as the attorney that will be assisting the School Board and Mr. Frank Aguillard during the procedure.  Mr. Hammonds was requested to state the names of any witnesses that he might call; Mr. Hammonds announced that he didn’t feel the necessity to call witnesses at this time, but maybe later.  Mr. Bander announced a list of witnesses were submitted as character references for Mr. Dixon; stipulations to the facts, but not to discuss or testify of the facts.  President Aguillard requested Mr. Dixon, or his attorney, to advise the Board regarding their wish for a public or private hearing; Attorney Bander announced that it will be a private hearing.  Attorney Bander stated that Mr. Dixon has requested his wife, Debra Dixon, remain with him during the tenure hearing and the Board granted this request.  Mr. Frank Aguillard announced that witnesses will have to wait outside the Board meeting room until it is their time to testify.  He mentioned that they will try to make the wait as short and convenient as possible under the circumstances.  He reminded all potential witnesses that they will be testifying under oath and that they are subject to prosecution for perjury if they do not tell the truth.  He also stated the witnesses are not to discuss their testimony with anyone other than Mr. Dixon (or his attorney, Mr. Bander) or Superintendent D’Amico (or her attorney, Mr. Hammonds) and asked that all persons who have been named by Mr. Bander as potential witnesses leave the Board room at this time.

 

Mr. Frank Aguillard entertained a motion for the Board to convene in executive session to conduct the hearing pursuant to the authority of L.R.S. 42:17(A)(1) and (10) and L.R.S. 17:493.

 

Executive Session.  On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board convened in an executive session at 5:54 p.m.

- - - -

Board Member Chad Aguillard arrived at 6:40 p.m.

- - - -

Open Session.  On a motion by Mr. Thomas Nelson, seconded by Mr. Kevin Hotard, the Board reconvened in an open session at 7:50 p.m.

 

President Aguillard stated it is not necessary that the School Board vote on whether Mr. Dixon is guilty of willful neglect of duty because, after receiving advice from legal counsel, he has already stipulated that he is.  Mr. Aguillard announced that the issue before the Board at this time is whether Mr. Dixon should receive disciplinary action as a result of his willful neglect of duty and, if so, what that disciplinary action should be.

 

President Aguillard stated he was going to ask a question, a roll call will be taken with the answer “yes” meaning discipline should be taken and “no” meaning that no disciplinary action should be taken. 

 

Do you feel that disciplinary action should be taken against Mr. Dixon? 

 

A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

Yes:                 Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, Anita LeJeune and Thomas Nelson

No:                   None

Absent:             None

 

The motion passed by 8-0-0 for disciplinary action to be taken against the employee.

 

President Aguillard announced we are now at the point in the proceedings where we will have to go to the next question to determine what disciplinary action to consider as appropriate for Mr. Dixon.  The Board will make that determination by motion made, seconded, and approved by majority vote of the Board.  Before voting on the disciplinary action, Mr. Aguillard stated that court decisions in Louisiana have concluded that School Board members should be advised that termination is not the only disciplinary action which can be taken against the employee.  Other types of disciplinary action that can be taken against an employee include letters of reprimand, placing an employee on probation, stripping an employee of tenure, suspending an employee with or without pay, and/or other types of disciplinary action short of termination.  Of course, termination is also an option available to the Board.

 

President Aguillard then asked for a motion as to what disciplinary action should be taken against Mr. Dixon in this case.

 

Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to terminate Mr. Dixon, effective March 6, 2014.  Mr. James Cline seconded the motion. 

 

A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

Yes:                  Frank Aguillard, James Cline and Thomas Nelson

No:                   Chad Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard and Anita LeJeune

Absent:             None

 

The motion failed by a 3-5-0 vote of the Board.

 

The floor was open for a new motion as to the disciplinary action to be taken against Mr. Dixon.

 

Mr. Kevin Hotard made a motion to suspend Mr. Dixon without pay for six (6 months), strip him of tenure, and require him to receive additional training as determined by the Superintendent.

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron seconded the motion.

 

A roll call vote on the motion resulted in the following:

 

Yes:                 Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, Anita LeJeune and Thomas Nelson

No:                   None

Absent:             None

 

The motion passed by 8-0-0 vote of the Board.

 

La. R.S. 17:493 (C) states that, if a tenured bus operator is found guilty by a school board of willful neglect of duty and is disciplined by the board, the superintendent “shall furnish to the school bus operator a written statement of recommendation of removal or discipline, which shall include but not be limited to the exact reason(s), offense(s), or instance(s) upon which the recommendation is based.”  Attorney Hammonds stated that Superintendent D’Amico will send Mr. Dixon a “written statement of recommendation of removal or discipline” required by that statute.

- - - -

With no other business to come before the Board at this time, President Aguillard entertained a motion to adjourn.

 

Adjournment. Mr. Thomas Nelson made a motion to adjourn.  Mr. Kevin Hotard seconded the motion and the meeting adjourned at 8:53 p.m.

 

____________________________

Frank R. Aguillard, Jr., President

 

____________________________

Linda D. D’Amico, Superintendent