Taxpayer-funded agency doled out raises to some employees during height of pandemic
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging, an organization funded by millions of dollars in taxpayer money, handed out up to four-percent raises for employees during the height of the pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer Tasha Clark Amar is among those who received the four-percent raise. Everyone could have received a raise, but not everyone did according to payroll records obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit. Some of those who did not get a raise include rank and file employees.
A former Council on Aging employee spoke to WBRZ Tuesday. He was recently terminated and told his job was eliminated due to restructuring. He spoke with apprehension due to a confidentiality agreement he signed that he said prohibits him from talking about the agency.
"They like to control the image of the organization," the former employee said.
The employee gave insight into the important work that the Council on Aging does to help our community's seniors.
"People loved their jobs and loved serving seniors," the ex-employee said.
The person who spoke to us is also concerned with raises that the WBRZ Investigative Unit found were given out during the pandemic.
Position 2021 2020
CEO $131,040 $126,006
Housing Director* 0 $100,000
CAO** $93,400 0
CFO $91,000 $87,500
COO $82,500 $85,000
*No housing director on 2021 salaries.
**No CAO salary in 2020.
Position 2021 2020
Cook/Prep, Evening $22,880.00 $22,880.00
C-1 Driver $22,880.00 $22,880.00
Prep, Night Shift $20,800.00 20,800.00
-Of the jobs that could be matched, most had an increase but most did not have the full 4% amount.
"The people that serve the elders in that organization should come first," the former employee said. "I have no issue with everyone getting a raise, but your rank and file should be the first."
The WBRZ Investigative Unit reached out to Tasha Clark Amar and requested an interview. She referred all questions to her legal counsel, Murphy Foster. Foster said he did not have information on the raises or how they were handed out. He also spoke about the confidentiality agreement that employees are provided. He said it's to protect the information of the seniors that are served by the Council on Aging.
Tasha Clark Amar has avoided our cameras and controversies since the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed what she did four years ago. She named herself the overseer of one senior's will. That sparked outrage among that client's family, the community, and led to Southern University terminating a tenured law professor who drafted the document. That former law professor sat on the Council on Aging Board at the time and still does today.
"I wish the organization and the seniors that they serve well," the former employee said. "I encourage former coworkers to keep doing what they are doing. The seniors love them."
In all, the Council on Aging pays out nearly $4.3 million in salaries annually. The agency's funded through a property tax generating about $9 million per year. Last year, the COA also received $821,000 in Paycheck Protection Funds or PPP money.
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