Monday, May 21, 2012

Bossier School Board sued for failure to honor public record request

Attorney John E. Settle, Jr. has filed suit against the Bossier Parish School Board in an attempt to get the board to produce documents which he requested under the public records law.
On April 27th, Settle requested the following from the Board:

  • Contact information for all bond attorneys who were consulted.
  • Copies of all correspondence to and from the bond attorneys.
  • All communications to Clarence Babineaux regarding the bond issue.
  • All communications between School Board employees regarding the bond proposal and tax propositions.

On May 1st, Settle received a letter from Charles F. Hardie VI of the Baton Rouge firm of Hammonds & Sills. Mr. Hardie stated that his firm serves as general counsel for the School Board. In the letter he further stated “please note that certain documents requested, specifically electronic communications, are not readily available.”
Missing Emails
The letter continues, “please also note that, while conducting the search of the School Board’s email servers for relevant communications responsive to your request, the School Board has discovered that its email archive failed on or about February 17, 2012. As a result of this failure, communications occuring on or after that date may have been deleted permanently from the School Board’s server if the original recipient removed that communication from his or her individual electronic mailbox.
(If the IT people only discovered after 2½ months that the email archive wasn't functioning, who knows how long it would have gone on if Settle had not requested these records?)
It is important to note that the law requires all public bodies to save these records for a minimum of three years.
Public record requests are to be honored within 72 hours.
If the public record is not immediately available, the custodian must promptly notify you in writing of the reason why the record is not immediately available and fix a day and hour within three days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) when the records will be made available.
There will be a hearing in District Court in Benton on Thursday. I’ll let you know the results of that.


  1. Question of the day:

    Why has the Bossier School Board contracted the services of Charles F. Hardie VI of the Baton Rouge firm of Hammonds & Sills when our tax dollars already provide those services though the D.A. Schuyler Marvin's office?

    1. Typical tea party mentality. A post about school board leads DIRECTLY to attack on some elected official. What's worse is the attack, typically, is inaccurate (dumb)!!!

  2. Why in the world is the Bossier Parish SB using a law firm from Baton Rouge? I believe there are plenty of capable law firms in this area they could use! Instead of sending our tax money to Baton Rouge let's keep it in this area!

  3. Surely they have nothing to hide.

    Classic move DC wonder what happen s when emails start appearing, might want to think about retirement.

  4. Matt,

    DA does not nor is it legally obligated to provide legal services to School Board.

    DA provides by statute legal services to Police Jury, not School Board.

    School Board hires who they want.

  5. Question of the century:

    Why would anyone listen to the King of misinformation, Matt Sciba? Yet another spiteful comment by MS with no basis in fact!!!

  6. This is a post re: school board and related lawsuit. Can we stay on topic, for once, and not drift to Marvin, Hall, Deen, etc? It gets old Sciba and bunch.

  7. Well, at least Matt and the next two are talking about the topic; the rest of you are just talking about each other. And I am also curious as to why the School Board hired a Baton Rouge firm, but not as curious about that as I am why they deleted the emails concerning the recent bond issue.Especially since those are the ones Mr. Settle happened to ask for. Makes you wonder what other emails have been accidentally permanently deleted.

  8. Could a good IT contractor be able to restore these documents? How does the FBI do it?

  9. Go back to sleep Matt.

  10. thank god its john settle on the case - no way any truth will be discovered that way

  11. Revised Statute 16:

    §2. Duty of district attorney to act as counsel for parish boards and commissions

    A. The district attorneys of the several judicial districts of Louisiana, other than the parish of Orleans, shall ex officio be the regular attorneys and counsel for the police juries, parish school boards, and city school boards within their respective districts and of every state board or commission domiciled therein, including levee boards, hospital and asylum boards, education boards, and all state boards or commissions the members of which, in whole or in part, are elected by the people or appointed by the governor or other prescribed authority, except state boards and commissions domiciled at the city of Baton Rouge, parish of East Baton Rouge, and all boards in charge or in control of state institutions.

    C. The district attorneys who shall refuse or wilfully fail to perform the duties required of them by this Section or wilfully fail to render faithful and efficient services in this regard shall be deemed guilty of malfeasance and gross misconduct and be removed from office in the manner prescribed by law.

  12. Again:

    shall ex officio be the regular attorneys and counsel for the police juries, PARISH SCHOOL BOARDS, and city school boards within their respective districts

    1. Matt, What the hell does revised statutes have to do with Bossier? They do whatever they please, whenever they please, and to hell with what's legal or illegal. The only people who have to follow laws and regulations in Bossier are people who aren't friend with Schuyler Marvin and Jimmy Hall.

  13. A previous anonymous poster said I was wrong about the law. I simply posted the law to prove I was right.

    I will make no comment to the negative of your statement.

  14. Matt,

    As usual, you mislead the public by curiously leaving out sub section B which reads:

    B. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section or any law to the contrary, nothing shall prevent
    the governing authorities of the parishes of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, Ouachita,
    Morehouse, Calcasieu, and Vermilion or any city or parish school board in the state from each employing
    or retaining its own attorney to represent it generally. The employment of attorneys by said governing
    authorities shall relieve the district attorneys of the judicial districts serving the parishes of St.
    Charles, St. John the Baptist, Ouachita, Morehouse, Calcasieu, and Vermilion from any further duty of

    Bossier Parish School Board (and Caddo and Webster and DeSoto and many more) have chosen to not employ the DA as their lawyer and hire their own private counsel. That relieves the DA in each of those parishes from representing the school board.

    The Bossier Parish School Board, per section B above, can choose its own lawyer (and did) and in almost all parishes school boards do hire private, civil litigators to represent them.

    Again, why would you post sections A and C (skipping B) if you were not trying to distort the truth?

  15. ^^^^^

    WHOAH..... Can't wait for the reply.

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Anyone see John Settle's comments in the inquisitor? I know a lot of people don't care about his opinion but I just wanted to point out something I found interesting. He made a comment about Jimmy Hall but failed to call him by name. He didn't have a problem naming everyone else. I'm just wondering why is everyone so scared of him?

  18. Com'on Jim. Cub, Cougar? No names!

  19. Cub or Cougar or whatever, but Sciba shut up once his ignorance was exposed. Again!!!!

  20. If Sciba thinks he has all the answers, why doesn't he run for office. Maybe he is afraid to find out what a majority think of he and Springer.

  21. If you would go back and read my original statement, you could see that my point is that we're already paying for legal representation, why not use it? Do you like paying twice for a product or service?

    I said nothing that the school boards were required to use the DA, but that if they chose to use the DA, the DA could not refuse.


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