Allegations against Council on Aging's director investigated

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by Eric Heisig / Houma Courier

wwltv.com

Posted on March 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

The personnel committee of the Terrebonne Council on Aging voted Friday to continue an investigation into allegations made by a former employee toward the executive director.

Janell Brierly, who served as the council's transportation and nutrition supervisor for less than a year, was fired earlier this month and later filed complaints against Executive Director Diana Edmonson. Brierly sent letters last week to the council's board, the state Ethics Board, the governor's office and other local, state and federal authorities that allege Edmonson had employees perform personal tasks, including grocery shopping, gardening and vehicle maintenance.

Brierly, who is also the former risk-management director for Terrebonne Parish government, alleges Edmonson fired “large” bus drivers because they will “break her steering wheels,” the complaint says. Anybody who “may know too much about her alleged illegal doings” is fired, Brierly says in the letter.

Edmonson fervently denies the allegations.

The personnel committee met Wednesday at the council's West Tunnel Boulevard complex to discuss the allegations. They again tackled the issue during a Friday closed-door session that lasted more than three hours. Edmonson did not attend, and no action was taken.

The only person interviewed during Friday's executive session was Brierly, who later said she gave the committee names and phone numbers of witnesses who can back up her claims.

“I felt at one point I was being interrogated, and I asked them not to do that to me,” Brierly said after the meeting. “I was just going to be there to give information.”

Committee members said they would interview others at a later date, most likely in another executive session, and do further research. No meeting date was set.

The next date's meeting has not been set.

We want to resolve this “as soon and as diligently as we can,” committee member Carroll McKey said.

Brierly said she also plans to file a complaint with the state's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Staff Writer Eric Heisig can be reached at 857-2202 or eric.heisig@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @TerrebonneCrime.

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