The state Board of Ethics recently considered a parish school system educator’s plan to recuse herself from supervising her son while he works in a program she coordinates.
Angela Westerburg was recently tasked with coordinating the Ouachita Parish School Board’s Extended School Year, or ESY, program. Her son, Justice Westerburg, also works for the School Board at Riverbend Elementary School in West Monroe as well as in the school system’s ESY program.
He helps visually impaired students navigate the school setting, helps create braille worksheets among other duties.
This summer marked the first time Angela Westerburg was responsible for coordinating the ESY program.
Her new assignment would mean she would have supervisory duties over Justice Westerburg and others in the ESY program.
State law forbids a public servant from participating in a transaction that would provide a substantial economic interest to a member of that servant’s immediate family.
“To avoid a potential violation of (state law), Ms. Westerburg has disqualified herself from any role in the direct supervision of her son,” stated a May 31 letter by Monroe attorney Elmer Noah, with Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice. “She will recuse herself from any and all supervisory duties and/or authority regarding the participation of her son in the Extended School Year Program.”
Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice provides legal services to the Ouachita Parish School Board.
State law allows for a disqualification plan to be enacted, allowing the public servant to disqualify themselves from participation in the transaction involving a family member. In response to the situation, Angela Westerburg submitted a disqualification plan asking two other School Board employees, Leah Biley and Amy Malone, to take over direct supervisory duties and exercise authority in all matters involving Justice Westerburg in the ESY program.
Board of Ethics attorney David Bordelon penned the board’s draft opinion accepting and adopting the proposed disqualification plan.