School board still owes consultant hired to find administrator

The consultant hired last year to help the board select a private company to administer the Lafayette Parish School Board’s health insurance program still hasn’t been paid and a board member is seeking a closed-door meeting to discuss settling the bill.

Board member Hunter Beasley had requested the board’s executive committee meet to discuss compensation for Tikia Consulting Group Inc., but his request was pulled from the board’s Wednesday meeting agenda on Tuesday — two hours after notice went out of its addition to the agenda.

Beasley said the item was pulled because his intention was to request that the matter be discussed in executive session — not by the executive committee. Beasley said rather than add a potential executive session item to the agenda the day before the meeting, he’ll request that it be discussed at the board’s next meeting.

“While we’d still be giving 24 hours notice, the board attorney thought maybe we should give more of a notice,” Beasley said.

The board is allowed to discuss certain matters in executive session, including personnel matters that involve discussion of a person’s character, professional competence, or physical or mental health or to discuss potential litigation only if a formal, written demand has been received.

The firm was hired in June 2013 to help the board select a third-party administrator for its self-funded health insurance program.

In November 2013, the board voted to redo the selection process after questions were raised by employees and applicants about the fairness of the selection process and accuracy of the consultant’s request for proposals.

The consultant was hired and worked without a contract, though at one point requested $200,000 in payment for services.

Beasley said he’s uncertain of any new payment under negotiation. “We need to discuss it,” he said.

The board’s next meeting is Feb. 5.

Also, on Wednesday the board will vote on new officers for the upcoming year.

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