Livingston, LA (FOX44) — Malcolm Sibley was not in the room, and his chair was already filled.
The president of the Livingston Parish Public Schools board chose not to attend Thursday night's meeting, and his absence had little impact on the proceedings. Board Vice President Buddy Mincey Jr. sat in the central spot at the table and moved the members through the agenda.
There was also no acknowledgement that Sibley was not there, from the board or anyone else. There was simply one empty seat at the table, and one short pause when his name was called during the roll.
Sibley also missed the school board's budget committee meeting on Tuesday. Earlier this week, he was arrested for a felony hit and run that killed a 21-year-old Mississippi man.
"It's a very tough situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with both of the families involved," Superintendent John Watson said. "It's very difficult for both of them."
Police say Sibley ran into William Iasigi while he was standing in the middle of a highway in St. Helena Parish early Saturday morning. They decided Sibley was not at fault for the accident; his crime was driving away from the scene.
His lawyer said Sibley is not focused on his job right now, but rather his actions and his family. Since he was elected to the board, there is nothing his fellow board members can do but work without him for the foreseeable future.
"We're going to continue on with our daily business," Watson said. "We've got preparations to make for next school year, and we'll continue with that."
The board approved a final budget for the 2012-13 school year, discussed workers compensation insurance, and planned future construction projects. It talked about a lot, just not the reason for the empty chair.
Because of the Independence Day holiday, the board is not scheduled to meet again until July 18. It remains unknown whether Sibley will announce his intentions to either return to the board or step down before then.