Judge orders Tangipahoa compliance officer's salary doubled

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AMITE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has doubled the part-time salary of the court compliance officer in Tangipahoa Parish's desegregation case, a move that the school board had unanimously opposed.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled that Court Compliance Officer Donald Massey's monthly payment should be raised from $4,000 to $8,000, saying it amounts to less than half the rate a private attorney would receive for the same work, The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1lTWVRd).

Massey asked for the court-imposed raise this summer. The job of overseeing the school system's 50-year-old lawsuit and helping the district comply with the desegregation orders is taking more time than he anticipated, he said.

According to legal filings, Massey has averaged working 70 hours per month on the case. An $8,000 monthly wage equates to a $96,000 salary.

The school board had unanimously rejected Massey's request in July, saying the school system was already dealing with financial strain.

School Board President Brett Duncan described Thursday's ruling as "sad and disturbing."

"It's this type of thing from the court that has made it very, very difficult for our board or our community to come anywhere close to financially supporting our system the way our neighbors support their school systems," Duncan said.

Massey's role is likely to increase, rather than decrease, as the school system implements a new student assignment plan next year, the judge said.

Massey declined to comment on the case.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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