The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
The head of the state agency that regulates private security companies was arrested on drug and weapons charges, and the board that oversees it will meet Thursday and consider whether to fire her.
The board fired her predecessor last year amid complaints of financial and sexual misconduct.
“It’s unfortunate what’s going on, because a lot of the board members are trying to essentially get away from that persona that everyone in Louisiana politics and government are corrupt,” said Jason Wilbur of DeRidder, one of nine board members.
Law officers who had gone to an Albany fast food restaurant Tuesday to arrest a man on drug charges said they found Bridgette Hull, 37, in the middle of a drug transaction with him.
Steven McCarthy, 37, a Baton Rouge man sought by the attorney general’s office, sped away and later crashed on Interstate 12, triggering a seven-mile backup just ahead of rush hour, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s office said.
Hull was booked with two counts of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I drug, possession with intent to distribute a Schedule II drug and possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance, deputies said.
Hull became the executive secretary of the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners after its commissioners voted 5-3 last September to fire its previous leader, Fabian Blache III. An internal report accused Blache of seeking reimbursements to which he was not entitled, and that he was named in an additional sexual harassment complaint.
Hull was hired on a 6-1 vote. She makes $85,000 a year and is given a car allowance of up to $300 a month, state records show.
Her agency is tasked with making sure private security guards in the state have proper training, equipment and qualifications. It deals regularly with guards, instructors and company owners statewide.
“She was such a good young lady, though,” said board member Scott Ford of St. Francisville. “It’s shocking; it’s truly shocking. But we’ll pick up and carry on.”
Blache and Hull had been placed on paid leave in 2018 after the agency’s staff leveled several complaints against them alleging inappropriate workplace behavior.
Allegations to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claimed the use of inappropriate language, sexually suggestive behavior including giving each other neck massages in front of other staff, and failing to record time away from the office as vacation time.
Blache and Hull denied the allegations, but the examiners’ board said it had substantiated a few of the 13 allegations against them. It let Blache keep his job, on a 5-4 vote, and left it to him to decide whether Hull should be disciplined.
Board members said that even though they let Blache keep his job, the allegations showed a level of unprofessional behavior and an unhealthy culture in the office that needed to change. After their 2018hearing, Blache called the findings “a bunch of junk” and “salacious garbage.”
The board on Wednesday posted a notice of an emergency meeting on Thursday. Members are expected to enter an executive session to discuss if Hull should “continue to hold (her position) or be terminated from the position,” according to an agenda posted online.
Ford said Stephanie Richardson, a compliance inspector for the agency, has been named the interim executive secretary.
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