In what board members said they hoped was the last skirmish in a long-running battle at the Council on Aging of St. Tammay, the board voted Monday to oust board member Kathleen Javery-Bacon, a former board president and ally of fired Executive Director Mary Toti.
After a brief discussion, the nine board members present voted unanimously to remove Javery-Bacon, who until this summer served as the board’s president, reading aloud a list of nine “charges” they said allowed them to remove her immediately for cause.
Among the charges were several allegations of abuse of power, including instances when Javery-Bacon allegedly attempted to intimidate other board members, her decision to close the administrative offices early for the Easter holiday, ordering a senior removed from the Slidell Senior Center and inserting herself in the receptionist’s office for a week in August, among others.
Javery-Bacon did not attend Monday’s meeting, but board President Bill Magee said the organization had tried to reach her several times to notify her of the hearing.
Javery-Bacon’s ouster after a fairly quiet discussion and unanimous vote stood in stark contrast to many of the meetings she chaired, which at times could descend into chaos and churlishness. At a meeting in April, Javery-Bacon conducted a vote without a motion or second, and she later tried to flee the room and encouraged others to follow in an attempt to deny a quorum on a motion to call a vote of no confidence in her leadership.
That April vote of no confidence passed by a slim two-vote majority. Monday’s motion, on the other hand, was definitive. Board rules require a two-thirds vote to remove a board member, but not one of the nine members at the meeting spoke in her defense or cast a vote in her favor.
The first charge leveled by the board originated with a January email Javery-Bacon sent to Magee warning him that his contact with COAST staff and the “tone” of his emails about other COAST issues were improper.
Javery-Bacon said Magee was “extremely out of order” and that he was in a “very dangerous position.”
“This behavior will not be tolerated by you or any other board members,” the letter read.
Magee took exception to Javery-Bacon’s email, saying in a response that Javery-Bacon had attempted to intimidate him and “abused” her position as board president.
“I will not back down,” he wrote.
Another charge against Javery-Bacon was that she unilaterally closed the COAST administrative offices at 1 p.m. on the Thursday before Easter after she learned that several board members intended to meet there for a Personnel Committee work session and tour of the offices.
“We perceived that to be preventing us from having our meetings and touring the office,” Magee said.
A third charge concerned Javery-Bacon’s decision to “insert” herself in the receptionist’s office of the Slidell center for a week in August, ostensibly to “protect” a staff member from one of the senior citizens with whom the staff member had had a confrontation.
Bettie Pogue, another board member, also criticized the decision — made by Toti and Javery-Bacon — to move the Covington Senior Center from Hadden Hall to the Greater Starlight Missionary Baptist Church.
That decision was very unpopular with the seniors who came to Hadden Hall, and Pogue said their input had been neglected in the decision-making process.
Reached by phone after the meeting, Javery-Bacon refused to comment on the vote, saying only that she had retained an attorney, whom she refused to name.
For Magee, the vote was a validation. “I hope this is the last time you guys write about us,” he laughed to assembled reporters.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.