Jefferson Parish School Board members said Monday they were caught off guard last week when one of their colleagues suggested that Superintendent Isaac Joseph should be suspended for "possible violations of state law and board policy."
Board member Cedric Floyd offered the item for "first reading" at the end of a special board meeting Wednesday, but it was not discussed or voted on then. It's scheduled to come up again at the board's next regular meeting on Sept. 12.
Board member Marion Bonura, however, said he has asked President Melinda Doucet to call a special meeting to resolve the issue before then, arguing that it wouldn't be fair to leave the allegations hanging over Joseph's head.
"I don't know what the allegations are," he said. "How can I support something if I don't know what it's about?"
Other board members said they were also left in the dark about Floyd's action.
"I had no idea that was coming down," Sandy Denapolis-Bosarge said. "Mr. Floyd didn't talk to me about it."
Floyd said last week that specific charges would be "forwarded prior to the Sept. 12" meeting. He refused to say what state laws or board policy he thinks Joseph may have violated.
"When the charges are made known, everyone will know the charges," he wrote in a text message.
Floyd denied that his bid to oust Joseph is related to the recent firing of Corey Lambert, the head football coach and assistant principal at John Ehret High School in Marrero.
Lambert, who is challenging his dismissal, was fired after three of John Ehret's sports teams were placed on probation by the Louisiana High School Athletics Association, which ruled that one of the school's athletes had been ineligible to compete.
The New Orleans Advocate, through a public-records request, obtained a memo Floyd sent to Joseph on Aug. 4, asking that Joseph refrain from taking any action against Lambert.
Joseph fired Lambert a few days later.
In the memo, Floyd alleged that Joseph's wife, Faith, the principal at L.W. Higgins High, had complained last year to then-Ehret Principal Maria Landry about Lambert, apparently for talking to some of her students.
Under an arrangement set up by the board, Joseph is required to recuse himself from any administrative decisions involving his family members. Those decisions must go through a separate committee set up by the board.
"According to the disqualification plan, any and all matters related to your wife should be handled by the board," Floyd wrote.
Floyd said Monday that the charges he plans to bring against Joseph have nothing to do with the Lambert situation.
"These charges are not remotely related to Corey Lambert," he said. "It seemed like, to me, that was a superintendent's decision."
He refused to clarify his allegations against Joseph, saying only, "I have some knowledge of what is and should not be."
Noting his lengthy tenure on the board, Floyd said he is a "policy wonk" who understands how the school system operates.
Some of Floyd's fellow board members said that if he has evidence that Joseph has violated law or policy, he should have shared it with the entire board.
"If Mr. Floyd knows enough about something to make a first reading, he knows enough to bring specific allegations at the same time," Mark Morgan wrote in an email to the board. "Otherwise it is just a baseless, inflammatory allegation."
Floyd, who has a history of clashing with school officials, has gone after Joseph before.
Last year, Floyd accused Joseph of violating laws against nepotism by failing to recuse himself from performing administrative tasks concerning a job opening that his wife was interested in and eventually got. The board did not act on those allegations.