Compliance officer in Tangipahoa schools desegregation case seeks court-ordered raise

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AMITE, Louisiana — The court compliance officer in Tangipahoa Parish's desegregation case is seeking a court-imposed raise after the school board refused his request to double his salary.

Donald Massey said he accepted the part-time job's $48,000 annual salary after the resignation of the previous compliance officer.

But according to his motion for the raise, Massey told the schools superintendent he intended to revisit the pay rate at the end of the 2014-15 school year when he had a better idea of the time commitment involved in helping the district comply with the desegregation orders.

The Advocate reports ( Massey says the job is taking more time than he anticipated, and the school board's refusal to pay him $8,000 per month broke a deal he said he had reached with Superintendent Mark Kolwe and board attorney Ashley Sandage in April.

The day after the board refused to double his salary, Massey filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle, who oversees the parish's 50-year-old desegregation lawsuit, to set an hourly rate for his work.

In a written response, district officials dispute Massey's claims, saying there was no agreement for a pay raise, and even if there had been, Massey should have known that only the School Board could bind the district to such an arrangement.

System officials allege that Massey threatened them that if the School Board did not agree to double his salary, the court would grant " 'whatever (he) wants,' which he stressed was actually $15,000 monthly/$180,000 annually or, ultimately, $465 an hour."

They have asked the court to deny Massey's request and clarify his job description to curtail what they describe as excessive work outside the scope of his appointment.

Lawyers for the school board and black community asked for a hearing on Massey's motion so they can present their arguments orally. A date has not yet been set for that hearing.

Information from: The Advocate,

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