Lawyer tries to have Metro Council held in contempt
BATON ROUGE - The lawyer representing Parish Attorney Mary Roper is trying to have the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council held in contempt of court.
It centers around a restraining order that was signed by a judge last week. The restraining order prohibits the council from considering the proposed termination of Roper's employment until a court hearing is held. However, the council scheduled a meeting for this Wednesday to discuss putting Roper on leave, since she tried to fire her second in command on Friday.
Today, Roper and her attorney say she was shut out of the City Parish email server, and the locks on her office door were changed.
"That's not how we do things in this country," Wade Shows said.
Currently, his client is in the midst of the biggest fight of her life. She's trying to keep her job.
"I've always strived to do a good job," Roper said. "Do the right thing and not be political. Sometimes that has made my decisions unpopular."
Roper found herself under scrutiny recently over allegations she breached her duties by sending her husband who works for the parish a software program. Some Metro Council members have also expressed they've lost confidence in her abilities.
"It's going to be tough for her to remain as parish attorney in light of all that's occurred," Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle said.
Shows believes the allegations are vague, and all he wants is a fair hearing before the Metro Council for his client.
"A lawsuit was filed for one reason only and that was to have a judge declare what is the orderly, proper and due process required to terminate Ms. Roper's employment after 20 years," Shows said.
Friday, Roper fired her second in command, Lee Ann Batson. Today, we went looking for her at the Parish Attorney's Office. We were told she was at work.
"Ms. Batson is here doing work, and I don't believe she's terminated," Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel said.
As the council gets ready to decide what it will do next, Roper says she just wants a fair shake after 20 years of public service.
"As you can imagine, this has been excruciating for my family, for me and I would prefer an amicable resolution and that's what I've been trying to do," Roper said.
The council is scheduled to meet about putting Roper on leave this Wednesday at 2pm. A court hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Aug. 26.