INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Education boss busted with booze during Zoom meeting
BATON ROUGE- If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a Department of Education boss is learning the hard way that a picture can be construed in a number of ways.
The Louisiana Department of Education says alcohol is prohibited at work for in-person and remote employees. That employee, Andrea Burl, whipped out a bottle of Ciroc, a premium vodka, while nearly 40 people were on a call recently.
"Andrea is starting her happy hour and her weekend a little early," a female voice is heard saying during the meeting.
Burl apparently not realizing her camera was on, was the continued focus of the call.
"Oh, she turned her video off again," a woman said. "Let's talk in a minute, Andrea."
As the call ended, that same female instructed Andrea to remain on the call.
"Andrea, stay on."
Ted Beasley, spokesman for the Department of Education, said the department has an alcohol and drug-free policy.
"We are aware of the incident and have taken appropriate next steps. We are not able to share any information about those next steps because it is a personnel matter," Beasley said.
Byron Decoteau, Jr. is the State Civil Service Director.
"It's a stressful time during COVID and transitioning and learning new ways of communication," Decoteau said. "You can see where employees may be lax navigating those waters. If it's in your policy that you can't do at your work location, you should not do it at your house."
Decoteau said any discipline must be administered fairly. Whatever DOE did to her will need to be done to the next person caught with alcohol on the job.
"You want to make sure you are applying your discipline uniformly to all of your employees," Decoteau said.
Our sources said about a dozen people report to Burl directly. They think they would have been fired if they got caught with booze during a meeting.
"If you would not do it at your office in your workplace, you should not be doing it at home as well," Decoteau said.
Records indicate Burl has been a civil service employee for 13 years and seven months. She is a program manager over licensing and earns $83,012.80 annually.
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