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Oct 22, 2013 8:20 PM by Tina Macias

School board restarts insurance selection after DA says law violated

The Lafayette Parish School Board will restart their selection of a health insurance administrator after questions arose about the legality of a past vote.

Fifteenth Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson answered the questions during a special meeting Tuesday, saying that the board violated the Open Meetings Law, because an agenda item to choose KBA as a new insurance administrator was not specific enough.

"People need to know if they should come to the meeting," Harson said, adding that the board ignored the issue at its last meeting. He warned that if they did that again, he might be moved to fines or injunctions.

The board voted to restart its selection process and extend its contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield through the end of 2014 to ensure there is enough time to complete the process.

Earlier this month, the board voted to accept Key Benefits Administrator as their new insurance administrator, angering employees who said they want to stay with Blue Cross Blue Shield. They added that they did not know that the board as going to make the vote.

At least one filed an Open Meetings Law complaint with Harson's office.

The board voted 6-2 to declare the Oct. 2 accepting KBA as a health care provider null and void with board members Themi Chassion and Rae Trahan voting against. Greg Awbrey, Mark Babineaux, Mark Cockerham, Kermit Bouillion, Tommy Angelle and Shelton Cobb vote for. Hunter Beasley was absent.

Even though the board voted to rescind that vote, board attorneys could not guarantee that legal would not arise from the action. At question was whether the Oct. 2 vote was legally binding.

"Only time will tell whether there will be litigation over whether you had a binding contract," said special attorney Bob Hammonds.

 

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