The D.A.'s transition continues in Covington

The D.A.'s transition continues in Covington

COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - The new District Attorney of St. Tammany and Washington Parishes takes over for a fallen dynasty.

Warren Montgomery is revamping an office with new people and new policies not in place.

Montgomery spent the last four months transforming his new office. An office last held by 30-year D.A.Walter Reed, who's now awaiting trial on federal corruption charges.

"I wouldn't say the transition is complete, there's a lot that we have to do," Montgomery said.

A total of 21 people have left...Montgomery fired two. He gave them termination packages which he said were for unused vacation.

FOX 8 requested records of all payments made to employees who resigned or were fired, since Montgomery took office.

The D.A.'s office gave us payment records for the two fired employees, former assistant D.A. Leigh Anne Wall and former investigator Delaunda Dykes.

"The people who resigned on their own, I didn't give them any severance," said Montgomery.

The D.A. sent us records documenting a payment of 150 hours for "unused vacation" for Wall, who worked for the office for 15 years. The exact payment was redacted, but based on her yearly salary, that worked out to around $6,825.00.

Terminated investigator Delaunda Dykes got two checks. One for 75 hours, the other for 56.5 hours. According to the documents, the hours were "unused vacation". Based on Dykes yearly salary, that amounted to $3,945.00.

"I think Ms Wall had been working in the office for 15 years, and Ms Dykes a shorter amount of time, and based on that difference in time, I thought it appropriate to give a little more money," said Montgomery.

Montgomery said calculating termination pay was tricky, since no one in former D.A. Walter Reed's office kept records of earned or accrued vacation time.

"I don't know how we classified it legally, but it was some amount of money because they would not be working here, they would be looking for a job, and I thought that was the right way to treat the people," said Montgomery.

Former prosecutor Wall told Fox 8, "after having worked there for 15 years, I'm sure I was due vacation time," although she admits there was no documentation.

"What I'm trying to do is establish a clear policy going forward so everyone feels they are being treated fairly," said Montgomery.

Montgomery hopes to have a new policy manual completed soon, to guide payouts in the future, as the transition continues.

"More people may try and leave on their own, or some people I decide are not leading the high ethical standards that are set out," said Montgomery.

Montgomery spokeswoman Lisa Frazier Page says of the 24 new people hired for the St Tammany-Washington parish D.A.'s office, ten are attorneys.

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