State director lifts silence about large raise
BATON ROUGE- The head of the Capital Area Human Services District lifted her silence today about a large raise she took and granted to her second in command when none of the 200 employees under her received one.
During the time Jan Kasofsky accepted a $21,000 raise and gave $15,000 to Deputy Director Carol Nacoste, Kasofsky sent letters to the state saying there was no money for employee raises.
"I work very hard," Kasofsky said. "I've never in my life worked as hard as I did and I felt the board recognized it in that way."
Today, the CAHSD Board called Kasofsky's work over the past year "exceptional." However, the Board stopped short of approving a raise for her today.
So, we asked once again, would Kasofsky accept another raise if her employees can't get one.
"At this point, I'm waiting to see where we are at the end of the fiscal year, and I'm really focused on giving my staff a raise this year," Kasofsky said.
When asked why she took one and gave one to her second in command if her agency was so cash-strapped, Kasofky said, "For me to pull $300,000 out of the operating budget wasn't possible last year. That was a far less amount than the $300,000 and did not impact operations."
Board President Vickie King also defended the decision to grant Kasofsky the raise.
"I have trust in Jan," King said. "She does a great job, the board trusts her implicitly, that's why she got an exceptional rating."
News 2 asked what message that sends to employees under Kasofsky, that only the bosses deserved raises.
"Chris, I mean honestly, you keep harping on this. You know how many negative comments I've gotten back, none," King said.
However, a state lawmaker is furious over what happened. Last week, Representative John Schroder authored a resolution to provide more oversight to prevent this from happening again.
"I would never take a raise before my employees take one, ever," Schroder said. "Only in government do we do crazy stuff like this."
The CAHSD Board is scheduled to meet again on May 13. At that time, the Board could discuss giving Kasofsky another raise.
Currently, Kasofsky is making about $200,000. Carol Nacoste earns nearly $150,000 per year.