Jul 24, 2013 7:11 PM by Tonya LaCoste

Lafayette Chamber issues statement supporting Cooper

The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce says it has "three major concerns" with a Lafayette Parish School Board resolution to hire an attorney to investigate Superintendent Pat Cooper's actions. Last Wednesday, the board passed the resolution after board member Rae Trahan said the board has received complaints about Cooper. Cooper called the investigation a "witch hunt."

The board will hire Grant & Barrow of Gretna to investigate. Two days after the board vote, Cooper sent a letter to members asking them to reconsider hiring a special attorney. Instead, he suggested using his attorney, Lane Roy, who says he'll work free of charge with Hammonds and Sills law firm, which the school board has on retainer.

The Chamber, in a news release, says attorneys aren't necessary and the board should be working directly with Cooper to solve issues. The Chamber's letter also states "the resolution didn't specify why he was being investigated." In his letter to the board, Cooper pointed out the same. "It is open-ended with no specificity as to the reasons," he said. Also, the chamber is concerned about money, as the resolution does not address how much the investigation will cost.

In his letter to the board, Cooper said Roy and Hammonds and Sills will "go through Act 1 and other pertinent legislation to create a document that would give guidance to the Board and Superintendent relative to what the new world of public education governance and operation looks like. They would outline for us, to incorporate into board policy, the revised duties and responsibilities and authority of the Superintendent as well as Board so we can move on common ground into the future."

So far there's been no public response to Cooper's offer from the board.


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