The West Feliciana Parish Police Jury’s physical financial records “were in disarray” when state auditors responded in December to a request from the District Attorney to look at jury spending practices.
The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office released a report Monday that also questions the controversial $30,000 in total pay raises given to Parish Manager Ambrose Sims last year; says the jury had no controls over credit card use; and notes the jury’s failure to adopt a three-year road improvement plan required to receive state road funds.
The jury last week refused requests from Juror Lea Williams, St. Francisville resident Anne Butler and The Advocate to release the report, despite 20th Judicial District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla’s opinion that the audit documents in the jury’s possession were a public record although the Legislative Auditor had not issued its report.
“The original report is not subject to the public record request from the legislative auditors, but since the jury does have a copy of this and if a request is made, the jury has to provide this to the requestor,” D’Aquilla wrote in an Aug. 20 e-mail to Jury President Ken Dawson.
(NOTE: The report and Dawson's response can be downloaded from the State) http://app1.lla.state.la.us/PublicReports.nsf/9271240EF76221298625778A0062B4A2/$FILE/00018F46.pdf
Monday’s audit report says jury financial records were disorganized; records were in multiple offices rather than a central location.
“Staff offices and floors were cluttered with records, and it was often very time consuming for the staff to find certain records (that) were requested. Without an organized filing system, Police Jury records are at risk of being misplaced, lost or accessible to unauthorized access,” the auditors wrote.
A 12-page response to the auditors’ findings, signed by Dawson, says the jury is converting to an electronic filing system that should be ready by 2012.
The auditors said jurors did not annually review Sims’ job performance, as outlined in his contract, and the raises he received last year were not tied to the annual inflation rate based on the Consumer Price Index, as required by his contract.
Neither a $5,000 raise in February 2009 nor a $25,000 raise approved in December were tied to annual inflation, the report says.CLICK ON THE HEADLINE, ABOVE, TO SEE THE FULL ARTICLE.
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