Former East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging Executive Director Johnny Dykes is asking a state judge to set aside his May 24 firing.
Dykes claims his termination was illegal because he received no advance notice, and his proposed firing was not on the COA board’s agenda.
Board members “knowingly and willfully participated in violating … the Open Meetings Law by taking up matters not on the agenda without the unanimous approval of the members of the EBRCOA who were present,’’ Dykes alleges in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the 19th Judicial District Court.
J. Arthur Smith III, an attorney for Dykes, warned board members at the May 24 meeting that they were “acting illegally” by proceeding with a vote on terminating Dykes without providing him a chance for a fair hearing.
The suit contends state law authorizes the court to “render void any action by the Board of Directors of the EBRCOA which has been taken in violation of the Louisiana Open Meetings Law.’’
“He’s going to certainly seek reinstatement,’’ Smith said Thursday.
COA’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
The suit has been assigned to state District Judge William Morvant.
Dykes had been COA executive director since Feb. 1, 2001.
Seven of the 13 COA board members voted earlier in May to place Dykes on paid administrative leave.
Board Chairman Ernest Stephens said at that time that the action was taken to allow a five-member ad hoc committee time to complete an investigation prompted by complaints by some employees and seniors served by the agency.
Dykes said after the May 24 meeting that he believed his problems stemmed from a small group of employees who did not want to work.
The board voted June 22 to select Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center director Tasha Clark Amar as COA’s new executive director.
Amar is the daughter of 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark.
Amar said Wednesday the COA has laid off 20 employees because of its financial situation.
The nonprofit COA gets federal, state and local tax money to help seniors lead independent and active lives. Its programs include Meals on Wheels for the homebound; the Senior Olympics; and social activities at senior centers.