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EBR Metro Councilwoman demands answers from Council on Aging after WBRZ report

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BATON ROUGE- East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Barbara Freiberg asked pointed questions to the Council on Aging Board following a WBRZ Investigative Unit report that showed an employee received a 42-percent salary increase.

That employee, Trudy Bihm, went from making $48,000 as Tasha Clark Amar's "executive assistant" to making $68,000 when her title changed to Tasha's "special assistant."

"I am concerned about Chris' investigative report because every meeting I've been to said any salary increases would be given to those making below minimum wage," Barbara Freiberg said.

Freiberg told the Council on Aging Board she hasn't missed a meeting, and she can't recall them talking about giving any employee a 42-percent pay raise.

"I am disturbed by what I hear in these meetings and what I hear on television," Freiberg told the board. "I am very concerned and the perception is not good."

The WBRZ Investigative unit first encountered Trudy Bihm last year when she held up papers blocking our cameras in Tasha's office. We were there asking about Helen Plummer's will that Tasha named herself as the executrix over. In the event something happened to Tasha, Bihm would take over. The will was drafted by fired Southern University Law Professor Dorothy Jackson, who remains a Council on Aging Board Member.

Today, Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto asked Jackson if she was comfortable sitting on the COA board.

"Am I comfortable?" Jackson responded. "Of course."

Jackson offered no response when a follow-up question was asked about whether she thought it was a conflict of interest to go into executive session about a lawsuit involving actions she participated in.

At the meeting today, Board Chair Jennifer Moisant called the report last night "misinformation." However, the Chief Administrative Officer confirmed everything the WBRZ Investigative Unit reported Thursday night about Bihm receiving a change in title and a $20,000 pay raise.

"Once we got the tax money, that included new job positions, merged job positions, merged job titles and new jobs," Gilmore said.

Late this afternoon, Murphy Foster, filed exceptions into the court record trying to get the Plummer family's lawsuit tossed. He claims that the lawsuit was not filed within the prescriptive time period and said that the Council on Aging vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Board members also approved a new pay scale for hourly employees. That new pay scale would make them eligible for raises, and those raises would be decided by Tasha Clark Amar.
 

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