Community center director to appeal termination
BATON ROUGE - The director of the Jewel J. Newman Community Center will appeal his termination Thursday morning in a meeting with the parish attorney.
District 2 Metro Council Woman Chauna Banks-Daniel sent the director, Carl Slaughter, a letter outlining 16 reasons why she wants him gone.
Slaughter, who has been at the center 34 years, believes this is politically motivated since his brother ran against Banks-Daniel during the last election.
"That's not the case," Banks-Daniel said.
The community center was recently shut down by the councilwoman after she was tipped off about fire code issues among other things. Slaughter's attorney, Jill Craft, said her client tried addressing those issues five months ago. She provided a work order request to News 2 from April which shows Slaughter asked for $2,700 to fix the faulty fire panel, $8,000 for new gym lights, and another $4,000 for a security system, which Banks-Daniel wanted.
Slaughter said the Department of Public Works appraised the work needed on the gym lights and fire panel equipment.
"[Banks-Daniel] said no and instead redirected $12,000 to support her community projects consisting of a back to school giveaway, Thanksgiving and Christmas toy giveaway," Craft said. "The money that we as taxpayers pay is suppose to actually go to the community centers."
Banks-Daniel explained she never signed off on the work order because she didn't have the correct justification, and she was able to finance the giveaway with private donations.
"As of today, none of that money has been spent, but again it was because the center manager would not carry through. It appears he was just used to buying everything he wants without justification," Banks-Daniel said.
Craft called the councilwoman's reasons for termination ridiculous, and questioned her authority since Slaughter is a civil service employee.
Bank-Daniel plans to wait it out.
"Civil service will rule and see if they're ridiculous or not," she said. "A lot of what Ms. Craft has said is that 'I'm not his supervisor,' and 'I'm not his appointing authority,' and if that's true, I don't see what the hoopla is about and why she was hired 'since I have no power'."