Cedric Floyd, president of the Jefferson Parish School Board, is facing more questions about his allegedly volatile temper.
The latest incident to stir concern apparently began when Floyd decided last month that he wanted his photo taken with the $24.5 million check that BP had just cut the school district to settle oil spill damage claims.
He asked board secretary Sharon Hunter to keep the check in her desk drawer for him until the photo could be arranged. But Hunter did not feel comfortable leaving it in her desk, so she gave it to the district’s chief financial officer for safekeeping.
That apparently set Floyd off, according to several people familiar with the incident, triggering a verbal barrage so intense that Hunter immediately walked over to the district’s Human Resources Department and filed a grievance, alleging a pattern of verbal abuse.
Floyd, who has seized a bigger leadership role at the district in the wake of last year’s board elections, which strengthened his faction, has been accused of similar blowups in the recent past.
Last summer, Floyd and then-board member Michael Delesdernier got into a screaming match over whether to convert Woodmere Elementary into a charter school, and Delesdernier ended up securing a restraining order against Floyd.
Floyd also drew a misdemeanor disturbing the peace citation in March 2014 after he was accused of breaking the windshield on his wife’s car while his son was trying to drive away from the family’s home in Kenner.
It’s not clear where that case stands. It reportedly was being transferred from Kenner City Court — where Floyd’s brother, Marion, is a magistrate — to 1st Parish Court in Metairie, but there was no record of a case against the School Board president there on Wednesday.
The District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Neither Floyd nor Hunter responded to requests for comment on Wednesday about the filing of the grievance. But Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Isaac Joseph confirmed in an Aug. 14 email to School Board members that Hunter had filed the grievance.
His note said there would be a third-party investigation, which has not been completed.
School Board member Mark Morgan declined to discuss specifics about the incident, but he confirmed that the district was planning to hire an outside attorney to look into it.
Several people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because it involves a sensitive personnel issue, said the relationship between Floyd and Hunter became strained as soon as Floyd was elected president of the board in January.
Before that, Hunter, 46, had worked in an office with two other secretaries who report to the district’s superintendent. But after Floyd became president, he moved her into another, smaller office by herself with its windows “blacked out,” these people said.
On numerous occasions, they said, Floyd, 58, was verbally combative with Hunter and kept her at the office late for no obvious reason. They said he began treating her as if she were his personal secretary and not the entire board’s.
Things apparently came to a head around mid-August, when Hunter gave the BP settlement check to district Chief Financial Officer Sarah Caruso so she could store it in a safe until Floyd was ready to pose with it.
“Cedric went off on her real bad, and that’s when Sharon ... made the decision to file a grievance,” one person said.