The attorney for Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau says they are going to take their case to the Louisiana Supreme Court after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Puyau’s lawsuit earlier this week.
The ruling from the appeals court affirmed a judge’s decision that the January 2018 meeting where the superintendent signed a new contract to be null and void.
Attorney Lane Roy says that despite the absence of a contract, the superintendent will keep his job for the time being.
“He would still be the superintendent and unless they terminate him and under the law. There is a specific process for doing it and they have to have certain reasons for doing it. Otherwise, he stays the superintendent.” said Roy.
Roy explained the case wasn’t dismissed because of its merits.
Originally, the Attorney General included the superintendent in his lawsuit against the board
Puyau was advised to leave the suit because he couldn’t be sued over violating the open meetings law, but he wanted back in.
“He can’t get back as in interval which is what he did here.” said Roy.
Roy said the board could’ve appealed but didn’t because half the board wants to get rid of him.
He points out the dispute is over Act One that the state legislature passed in 2012 that gave acting superintendents more authority.
“The idea was the education decision oughta be made by the educator. The board is overseer. If you tell a board member, who is a politician that their authority has been reduced. It doesn’t sit well with them.” said Roy.
Kibbie Pillette argues that provision only gives the superintendent to hire and fire employees without the board’s approval
“The superintendent does not have the authority to write job descriptions, create jobs. That is the function of the board. That is a part of policy. We have had a situation where policy has been changed without the boards knowledge. People’s responsibilities have been shifted.” Pillette said.
Pillette adds the superintendent rules through intimidation of his teacher and is running rouge.
“The problem is that he doesn’t recognize that the board members represent the people. The superintendent is represented by the board. The two should work in unison, but you can’t have any unity when the superintendent wants to assume complete authority over everything.” said Pillette.
For Roy, this goes far beyond what’s happening in vermilion parish because it showcases the power of Act 1.
“If they(VPSB) are successful there, they will continue to do it, parish by parish. They did it here in Lafayette with Pat Cooper. They did it in st. Martin parish with Lottie Beebee. They are trying to do it St. Landry parish. It will never end until we stop it. It’s in our power.” said Beebee.
Pillette says he isn’t sure when the school board will consider the termination of superintendent Jerome Puyau, but he believes there are enough members on the board that will support the measure.