Supervisor to work final year from home

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

 The Iberville Parish School Board last week agreed in a 9-4 vote to allow Supervisor Robert P. Daigle to work from his home during his last months on the job, despite controversy over the first-of-its-kind arrangement.

In a letter of resignation dated August 15, Daigle said he would resign on June 30 because “of personal family issues.” He then took 16 days of sick leave he has for the year, and asked to be placed on special assignment from September 9 through January 29.

“During this time, I will work on major projects such as [the] personnel manual, revisions to the policy manual, accountability issues and any other tasks as directed by the superintendent or his designee,” Daigle wrote.

Starting February 4, Daigle will begin to use his sick leave and vacation days before retiring at the end of June.

Daigle was principal of White Castle High School before his promotion to supervisor. Several years ago, under a state law intended to retain qualified educators; he took state retirement and was rehired at his supervisor's salary.

Several board members questioned how a school supervisor could work from home, instead of at the system's Central Office.

Janet Marionneaux, executive director of personnel, curriculum and instruction, said she was not sure if it had been done before, but that Robert Hammonds of Baton Rouge, the board's special attorney, had said it was permissible.

“You're going down to Thibodaux to make sure he's working,” Board Member Darlene Ourso of White Castle asked.

“We're going to pay a supervisor to work out of his house when he's not supervising anyone,” said Board Member Stanley Washington of Maringouin, who established Daigle's salary was more than $100,000 a year.

“What are the benefits to the taxpayers whose money is going to him while he's staying at home,” asked Board Member Dorothy Sansoni of Plaquemine.

“Is there any reason he can't work out of the office,” Board Member Albertha Hasten of White Castle asked.

Board Member Tom Delahaye of Plaquemine said 20 percent of the American workforce, himself included, now works from home.

“We agreed to allow him to stay home,” Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne Jr. said. “It was his request to me, and my recommendation to the board.”

Dr. Cancienne said there would be some reorganization of the Central Office staff, where he envisioned a reduction, as a result of Daigle's special assignment and retirement.

The board rejected Sansoni's motion to wait for a written opinion from Hammonds before voting on the issue before approving Cancienne's recommendation in the 9-4 vote.

Voting for Daigle's reassignment were board members David “Worm” Daigle of Grosse Tete, Nancy T. Broussard and Melvin Lodge, both of St. Gabriel, and Paul Distefano, Yolanda Butler Laws, Michael “Chief” Barbee, Brian S. Willis, Michael J. Hebert Jr. and Delahaye, all of Plaquemine.

Against were Washington, Sansoni, Ourso and Hasten.

Board members Glyna M. Kelley of Plaquemine and Freddie “Sam” Molden of Bayou Goula were absent from the special meeting.