Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson has resigned from the position she’s held since 2015, pre-empting a scheduled Wednesday vote by the Metro Council on whether to hold a termination hearing.
In a letter to Metro Council members this morning, Batson defends her tenure in office and notes that she has contacted each of them individually in the past two weeks “to discover and address your concerns about me and or the office. No one has been willing or able to articulate a specific problem.”
Batson suggests the reason some council members have been pushing to oust her has to do with reforms she has implemented in the parish attorney’s office since replacing Mary Roper, who was fired by the council in 2014.
“Implementing those policies within an entrenched workforce has, not surprisingly, ruffled a few feathers,” she writes.
Batson’s job has been in question ever since Councilman LaMont Cole began pushing for a hearing to remove the parish attorney in late December, though he never said why.
In emails obtained by Daily Report, Batson stated on Dec. 26 that Cole wanted to replace her with Tedrick Knightshead, Batson’s first assistant.
But two other council members—Erika Green and Tara Wicker—were adamant against Knightshead, and were planning to push for City Prosecutor Anderson Dotson to get the job on an interim basis if Batson were fired.
In her resignation letter, Batson goes on to list the reform measures she has implemented, including: privatizing the risk management division by reducing the workforce; using carry-forward funds to complete a build-out of the ninth-floor at City Hall, resulting in the closure of the Coursey Boulevard office; changing the leadership at the city prosecutor’s office and spearheading a renewed collection effort of parking tickets.
“I demand excellence and dedication and believe the best management style is to lead by example,” she says. “I expect no less from myself.”
Batson does not say what she plans to do next but says, “I love Baton Rouge, most of the people who work here, and I am grateful for the opportunity and the health insurance that this job has afforded me … I’m looking forward to the rest of my journey, where it takes me.”
See Daily Report PM for more details.