LEONVILLE — The St. Landry Parish School Board voted unanimously Thursday to hold a special meeting that will allow Superintendent Michael Nassif to respond to allegations made by a parish alternative school facilitator during an employee grievance hearing.
Debbie Faul alleged during Thursday’s hearing that she has had her duties at the alternative school reduced this school session by Nassif in retaliation for her criticism of the district’s financial difficulties over the past two years.
Board member Charles Ross said Nassif’s “side of the story” should be heard at a separate meeting before the board considers any action in connection with Faul’s alleged grievances.
Faul’s hearing, which was held by her request in open session, ended a contentious meeting in which board members John Miller and Quincy Richard were asked to leave the meeting by board president Huey Wyble.
Miller and Richard were among several board members who questioned at the start of the meeting a letter Wyble sent to the board, asking board members to speak only on agenda items.
The letter said previous meetings, in Wyble’s judgment, had sometimes become “unprofessional” when members of the audience, in speaking to the board, made remarks about Nassif.
The board voted 11-2 to continue the meeting after Miller and Richard requested to dismiss the meeting at Leonville Elementary School.
Faul said her complaints against Nassif, who did not speak at Thursday’s hearing, include the alleged lack of employee due process that she said is a demotion from alternative school facilitator in charge of administration to reduced duties that include curriculum and overseeing the school’s special education students.
She also said Nassif allegedly breached information contained in her school personnel file and made public, derogatory comments about her to board members and office staff.
In her grievance presentation, Faul told the board she is asking for the reinstatement of her previous position as the overall alternative school facilitator.
Faul said that in July the board agreed with Nassif’s recommendation to move Evyetta Greene into the facilitator’s position in Faul’s place.
At the July meeting, Nassif said he was moving Greene from another administrative position in order to save the school system money.
On Thursday, Faul said having two facilitators at the alternative school in Opelousas is a waste of money.
Asking for order,
Wyble summoned a town of Leonville police officer and a sheriff’s deputy to escort Richard and Miller out of the meeting.
After a brief discussion with the officers, Richard and Miller indicated they wished to remain at the meeting.
Miller said he considered Wyble’s letter an attempt to prevent board members from speaking at the meetings.
“I’m an elected board member just like (Wyble) is elected and I should have a right to speak,” Miller said in an interview before he decided to rejoin the meeting that continued after he and Richard left.
Board attorney Gerard Caswell said that Wyble has the right to run the meeting and determine whether board members should be able to speak.
Wyble wrote in the letter than any comments made about Nassif at the meeting would not be tolerated during “business meetings.”
“This is a business meeting and lately we (the board) have gotten away from that practice,” the letter said. Wyble’s letter said that any matters board members want to discuss should be referred to the proper committee or with him, if the subject matter is not on the agenda.