Monday night the Lafayette Officials Association made the decision to follow suit with other officials association from around the state and inform the LHSAA that they would not be working without a pay raise in the fall.
Lafayette-based official Daniel Gautreaux said the decision was made to stay in line with other official associations in the state after discussion and a vote Monday night.
Gautreaux is the representative of the Football Executive Committee for the Louisiana High School Officials Association (LHSOA).
“It’s been a long time coming now,” Gautreaux said. “There has only been two pay increases in 25 years. When the last pay increase was voted down, the principals stood up and clapped.
“We are grown men, and that was just kind of a slap in the face. It’s about respect.”
Gautreaux said football wasn’t the only sport in danger of not having officials when their season starts.
Volleyball is the next sport the Lafayette officials will vote on whether to strike or not, and six of the eight other official associations around the state have already voted to stop working.
“It’s not just about football,” Gautreaux said. “It’s about all the sports, the only reason other sports haven’t come up yet is because they haven’t been voted on because of where their season starts.”
Gautreaux said the LHSOA is encouraging the officials around the state to send out annual work agreement contracts with a new fee schedule, different from the one in the LHSAA handbook, for the schools to sign if they would like officials at their games.
One of the main reasons the officials are asking for a raise, the proposal that was voted down in January to applause was for $5, is that the cost for officials to ref games has gone up 73 percent since the last time the pay schedule was raised.
“We aren’t asking for much,” Gautreaux said. “I’d like to see the principals stand up and clap if a teacher raise was voted down.”
Gautreaux said he thinks a deal will be done with LHSAA before the first week of the season, and that LHSAA’s Executive Director Eddine Bonine has added an agenda item to this weekend’s upcoming Executive Committee session to address the officials.
The LHSOA has a meeting Sunday that Boninie is expected to attend, and Gautreaux said he hopes Bonine has an offer that the officials can discuss.
“I think we’ll have a deal done before it starts to affect the season,” Gautreaux said.
Gautreaux said despite the negotiations becoming heated at times, the relationship between the officials and the LHSAA and the principals of the instiutions in the Lafayette area remained strong.
“I think in the Lafayette area there is a great deal of respect between both parties,” Gautreaux said. “I do not think that will change going forward.”