Southern University Chancellor Kofi Lomotey’s job was threatened Friday during a Board of Supervisors meeting when some Southern board members took issue with the longevity of his employment agreement.
A handful of board members said that Lomotey should be an “at-will” employee, who can be fired without cause, as opposed to having a three or four-year guaranteed contract.
“If he (Lomotey) doesn’t accept it,” said board Chairman-elect Tony Clayton of Port Allen, “then we move on and find another chancellor.”
The board ultimately decided to postpone a decision until the Dec. 12 board meeting.
In September, the board approved a $295,000 a year pay package in an employment letter for Lomotey that included a four-year term.
Southern University System President Ralph Slaughter said some board members decided four years guaranteed was too long.
Lomotey agreed to shorten his term to three years, Slaughter said.
Clayton and board members Dale Atkins, of New Orleans, and Johnny Anderson, of Baton Rouge, who first brought the issue up Friday, criticized Slaughter for not bringing a formal written contract back to the board for approval.
“There was never a consensus on the term and length,” Anderson said, noting that previous chancellors at Southern have been at-will employees and “served at the pleasure of the board.”
Slaughter said Lomotey’s employment letter, which was approved by the board in September, amounts to a contract.
Board Chairman Myron Lawson, of Alexandria, said he never signed any employee agreement. But Lawson said he wants Lomotey to have a formal, written contract.
Board members asked board attorney, Winston DeCuir, if there is a valid contract agreement with Lomotey.
“You’re asking me to make some very important decisions without a lot of information,” DeCuir said.
“It makes me wonder if we have a Watergate or a Southern-gate,” Anderson said.
Clayton also asked Lomotey for a “cease and desist” on all hiring and firing at the main Baton Rouge campus until they can discuss the direction of the university.
Lomotey has made several administrative changes since taking over as chancellor in July.