Posts Tagged ‘jefferson parish’

Paralegal Supervisor Saga Ends

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Imagining a new job is a wonderful pastime, if you’ve time to pass. But creating imaginary jobs can land you in jail. posts here. Those posts generally dealt with the problem of determining what it took to be “certified” as either a paralegal or paralegal supervisor in that parish. Those adventures appear to have come to an end with a guilty plea by Aaron Broussard to federal corruption charges. Unfortunately, it appears it will end without an answer to the certification questions unless someone is willing to stop by the parish offices, read the “Jefferson Parish Executive Pay Plan” and other documents, and report back to us.

According to WWLTV, Broussard met with other officials to “Karen Parker, a woman Broussard would marry eventually, a job.” Normally that in itself would not constitute corruption, but this is:

“Broussard specifically wanted to have other Parish officials, including Wilkinson, be the individuals who hired Parker, because he knew that once he took over the position of Parish President, he could not hire Parker, and there would be increased scrutiny as a result of their romantic relationship,” says the factual basis.

During the meeting, all three men agreed to get Parker a job as a paralegal supervisor at the parish attorney’s office. It was also understood by the men that the position created just for Parker would be unnecessary.

OK, so they create an unnecessary position and hire Parker for it. But I’m still  confused. Did they also change the Executive Pay Plan to include the position or was there already such a position in the pay plan? If it was already in the pay plan, what was the job description for the position? Was it for a paralegal who  could also supervise other standard employees ( a Paralegal/Supervisor) or a person that could supervise paralegals? If they created the position and put into the Pay Plan, why was “Her starting salary was $48,000 – “higher than the salary range allowed for the position of Paralegal Supervisor under the Executive Pay Plan for Jefferson Parish?”

Finally, while everyone now agrees “Parker, despite holding position she was unqualified for, was trying to collect overtime/comp pay claiming that she working from home – a violation of parish rules,” we still are no further along in our quest to find out what those qualifications were and what it means to be “certified” as having those qualifications.

 

NOLA Discussion:The Importance of a Paralegal Certificate in Louisiana

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Paralegal Gateway notes that the New Orleans Paralegal Association Annual Dinner will feature a talk entitled “Why Does Your Paralegal Certificate Matter?” This is an important topic everywhere, but especially important given previous posts here regarding alleged and real paralegals in Jefferson Parish. Here’s the rest of the information provided by Paralegal Gateway:”

JEFFERSON PARISH ATTORNEY DEBORAH FOSHEE will address why your training and certification matters in the rapidly evolving Paralegal Profession during our annual Summer Dinner Meeting set for July 21, 2011.

This year’s venue is Landry’s on Lake Ponchartrain and will once again feature a silent auction of luxury items donated by members, vendors and sponsors. Dinner priced at $35 will include a non-alcoholic drink, your choice of entre, salad, garlic bread and desert. Please RSVP to Karen Seghers at no later than noon on July 20, 2011 at noparalegal@live.com.

 

Paralegal license required in Louisiana?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I’ve previously posted on the curious happenings in a Louisiana parish (equivalent of a county in most other jurisdictions). The parish was unable to find any records relating to the employment of an ex-spouse of a former parish president, although she supposedly performed the job and was paid for that performance for 18 years – $64,000 in at least the last of those 18 years. However, my interest focused on the statement, “However, the parish was unable to provide proof she has the required certification to hold that position.” My question was what would be the “required certification” to hold the position given the lack of any uniformity within the paralegal profession regarding certification requirements for paralegals, much less a “paralegal supervisor.”

There was another story shortly thereafter about a candidate for Kenner (Louisiana) mayor, having trouble justifying his claim that he worked as a paralegal in the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office. He produced a copy of a letter on Jefferson Parish letterhead from the parish attorney at the time transferring him from Citizens’ Affairs to the attorney’s office as a full-time paralegal making $11.75 per hour effective two days earlier. He also provided a parish personnel form noting his resignation as a paralegal. My question at the time, to which there appears to be no answer was by what standard did the man qualify to work as a paralegal anywhere at anytime?

Now there’s a story on NOLA.com reporting, “Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson may have committed payroll fraud by approving $45,000 in excess pay to Broussard’s wife and hiring two politically connected people as paralegals who lacked required licenses, according to a report released by the state Legislative Auditor.” So again my question is, what are the required licenses to be a Jefferson Parish paralegal? I am not aware of Louisiana having enacted any licensing requirements for paralegals at all and would be quite pleased if someone could point out what this is referencing.

Just to be clear, as I have previously noted, there are real, competent, professional paralegals in Louisiana and they deserve better than to have their professional identity usurped in this fashion. There is also a very good paralegal educational program at Tulane University directed by Sallie Davis, a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Maine.

What is suitable qualification for a paralegal? -Louisiana Edition

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Yesterday’s post concerned a non-paralegal accepting a position as a paralegal while not having the qualifications required for the job and then quitting because she was not given any meaningful work. This story seems somehow related, but I can’t quite put that relationship together. Anyway, a candidate for Kenner (Louisiana) mayor, is having trouble justifying his claim that he worked as a paralegal in the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office. He has

produced a copy of a Nov. 9, 1998, letter on Jefferson Parish letterhead from Tom Wilkinson, the parish attorney at the time, to then-Finance Director Penny Anderson, transferring Yenni from Citizens’ Affairs to the attorney’s office as a full-time paralegal making $11.75 per hour effective two days earlier. He also provided a parish personnel form noting his Jan. 15, 1999, resignation as a paralegal.

But in response to a request for public records of Yenni’s work as a paralegal, the parish on Wednesday released only a form indicating he started working as a temporary “typist clerk” making $5.23 per hour on Aug. 31, 1998. Handwritten on that form is “Resigned 1/15/99.

I let the Louisianan politicians and voters sort out whether Yenni actually worked for the parish attorney or was just paid from his budget for working as a typist clerk in another department, something which appeared to have happened with some regularity in Jefferson Parish. My question is by what standard did Yenni qualify to work as a paralegal anywhere at anytime? According to the report at Nola.com,

Two weeks ago, The Times-Picayune reported that the biography page at www.electmikeyenni.com said Yenni at one point in his career was “Director of Communications with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.” The page also said that when he became director of the Citizens Affairs Department, he oversaw an operating budget of $116 million.

In reality, while working in Citizens Affairs, Yenni said he “directed communications” with the Sheriff’s Office during Carnival parades. And his budget was closer to $1 million.

Be that as it may, there is no indication under either description of his experience that he has any experience, education, or certification that qualifies him as a paralegal. I don’t know about the courts in Louisiana, but I am sure the Minnesota Court of Appeals would agree. Unfortunately it continues to appear that just about anyone can call themselves a paralegal.