'Worst Bosses' list includes former Port Allen official

Advocate staff file photo by ADAM LAU -- Former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis. Show caption
Advocate staff file photo by ADAM LAU -- Former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis.

Former Port Allen mayor placed 29th

“To date, the 2013 America’s Worst Bosses have cost their employers over $52 million in monetary damages and lawsuit settlement payments. Of this amount, the 33 public sector bosses have cost their respective taxpayers over $21 million.” Asher Adelman, eBossWatch founder

Former Port Allen Mayor Derek A. Lewis, serving a 40-month federal prison term for an admitted racketeering violation, received unwanted recognition this week when he was named to a list of the nation’s 50 worst bosses for 2013.

Lewis entered federal custody in July 2012 and is not scheduled for release from the U.S. Prison at Beaumont, Texas, until June 17, 2015.

Two months ago, Port Allen paid a combined total of $330,000 to end civil suits filed in federal court by former Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Cenceria Dalcourt and former Assistant Chief Financial Officer Philip Mason. Both plaintiffs alleged Lewis sexually harassed Dalcourt and other female municipal employees.

That municipal expense helped place Lewis in 29th place on eBossWatch’s fifth annual list of America’s Worst Bosses.

“The managers who made this year’s list of America’s Worst Bosses were named in workplace lawsuits filed by their employees or were accused of workplace harassment and/or sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and/or creating a hostile work environment,” Asher Adelman, eBossWatch’s founder, said in a written statement.

“To date, the 2013 America’s Worst Bosses have cost their employers over $52 million in monetary damages and lawsuit settlement payments. Of this amount, the 33 public sector bosses have cost their respective taxpayers over $21 million.”

At the top of this year’s worst-boss list is former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned in August after dozens of women alleged he had kissed or inappropriately touched them. One former staff member filed a sexual harassment suit against him.

In criminal court, Filner pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment for grabbing a woman in a headlock. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of battery for kissing one woman at a public event and grabbing another’s buttocks.

In a plea agreement, Filner forfeited two-thirds of his mayoral pension and accepted a lifetime ban against seeking or holding public office. Prior to his resignation, the City Council agreed that city money would be used to defend Filner against his ex-staffer’s sexual harassment lawsuit.

On Dec. 9, Filner was sentenced to 90 days of home confinement and three years of probation. He was fined $1,500.

An FBI sting resulted in the indictment in 2010 of Lewis, former Port Allen Police Chief Fred Smith and former Port Allen Councilman Johnny L. Johnson Sr., as well as officials in several other Baton Rouge-area municipalities.

The undercover investigation was dubbed Operation Blighted Officials. Bribes of cash and other things of value were offered to officials in return for actions intended to gain public contracts for what proved to be an imaginary garbage-can-cleaning service known as Cifer 5000.

In June 2012, Lewis was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for his guilty plea to a single count of racketeering. He also was ordered to repay the federal government $18,990 for cash and other bribes he and Smith accepted during the FBI sting.

Five workplace consultants selected and ranked this year’s list of America’s Worst Bosses, Adelman said. They were Linda Durre, Kevin Kennemer, Catherine Mattice, Erica Pinsky and Marilyn Veincentotzs.

Los Angeles Times and CNN contributed to this report.