SORRENTO - The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to cooperate with investigators after a civil-rights official said he reported allegations of town misconduct to the FBI and promised an investigation was coming.
Councilman Randy Anny moved for the resolution, saying the council and town need to have transparency.
“If you’re going to have trust, we got to have transparency,” Anny said.
Councilmen Lionel Melancon Jr. and Marvin Martin also spoke for the need for transparency and open doors.
Donald Hambrick, part of a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People legal affairs committee, said he had tried to meet with the council earlier this spring about the allegations and about town employee Cornelius Morris, but the council failed to get a quorum.
Morris filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the town over his prior termination. He has since been rehired and promoted.
Hambrick alleged in the public meeting that the FBI contacted him and he claimed an agency official told him the FBI is investigating.
The FBI typically does not publicly confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.
Hambrick provided a few details Tuesday that he said he uncovered in the course of looking into Morris’ case. Hambrick said:
• A former town employee had been hired and paid without an application or timecard.
• “Behavior unbecoming of public officials” occurred related to an ordinance adopted in connection with the Boucherie Festival.
• Residents have been voting who are not part of the town and that paperwork was improperly removed from Morris’ file.
Hambrick did not give the names of any public officials, but he identified the former town employee as Kenny Brock.
Brock worked for a time on the town’s troubled sewage treatment system under former Mayor Blake LeBlanc before LeBlanc resigned in October.
The 2010-2011 audit found that instances where information for certain employees could not be found.
The audit found not all employees were required to submit employee data forms, tax election information forms or time sheets. The town is supposed to use the data to account for pay and tax withholdings.
The town promised to resolve the problems, the audit says.
Auditor Jacob Waguespack said in an interview after the meeting Tuesday that Brock was among those referenced in the audit finding.
Hambrick said he would still like to meet with the council and resolve the matter without a lot of “hoopla.”
Other action by the council Tuesday night involved:
MILLAGE RATES: The council approved the 2011 town millage rate at 6.11 mills, the same as it was in 2010.