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Community center director terminated after dispute

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BATON ROUGE- The longtime director of the Leo S. Butler Community Center was fired Friday, following a dispute with Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

Calvin Beal thought he was starting a routing day at the office, until he got some shocking news.

"The maintenance person came over saying the locks were being changed," Beal said.

Beal said things got shaky between him and Wicker a few years ago when he supported her opponent.  However, Wicker told News 2, Beal's termination had nothing to do with politics.

"Over and over throughout the year, individuals were very upset about the way they were talked to or treated," Wicker said.  "This Community Center has a highly historical place in this neighborhood.  I feel it's been highly under-utilized."

Last year, the Metro Council took over the leadership of Community Centers from the Mayor's Office.  Beal believes he's leaving his post and the center better than where he found it.  He had harsh words for Wicker.

"It was insulting," he said.  "What I know of the scripture, reaping and sowing is real.  So you have to becareful because it will come up. I just wish the citizens of south Baton Rouge well."

"Change is never easy," Wicker said.  "Having to make tough decisions isn't and easy, but necessary task.  My hope for Mr. Beal is he will do well wherever life leads him next.  Unfortunately, the Butler Center was not that place for him."

Wicker has not named Beal's replacement.  She hopes to have that done in the coming weeks.


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