By Corey Poole
Auditors visited the Parish Council meeting Monday night, Oct. 17, reporting a clean opinion issued on their recent report for the Fiscal Year 2015. However, there were two issues cited. One issue was an internal control procedure dealing with the reconciliation over cash collections. The second was a major program compliance issue with money in the OCS/Head Start Fund.
The internal control issue occurred when there weren’t sufficient procedures in place to reconcile the bank deposits on a monthly basis. At some point, the process broke down and, over a three-month period, there was a theft of approximately $6,000. Restitution was made and there is a new system in place with an additional person involved and a better checks-and-balance system.
While Councilwoman Patsy Ward Hoover said the Council just found out about this three months ago, Parish Treasurer Debbie Miley said the incident was discussed in executive session. Rick Nowlin agreed, saying the incident had been brought to the Council’s attention well before the audit was performed. Councilman Rachal confirmed Mr. Nowlin’s statement.
A concerned citizen, Janice Perry, asked how anything goes on with Parish finance decisions that the Council isn’t aware of. “And you represent me,” Perry asked. “It’s a problem.”
Councilman Chris Page backed up Hoover, saying they didn’t know.
A review of the Official Records for the Parish show that the Council went into Executive Session at their February 16th meeting to discuss information relative to possible legal action regarding certain employees of the Parish.
The second issue was a fund that was overdrawn. Too much money was collected and it was sitting in the account. They have been unable to determine where the money came into play. The fund was taken over from a previous accountant who said the money belonged there, but Miley said it obviously doesn’t.
On to other agenda items, an item was added to amend the personnel manual to adjust several job descriptions and salaries to become compliant with federal regulations.
Other items included:
Authorizing the purchasing agent to seek sealed bid proposals for materials and supplies for the Parish Highway, Solid Waste and Head Start Departments
Adopt the budget for the fiscal year from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2017 and making appropriations for each department, project and account
Change speed limit for section of Eight Mile Loop
Reappoint Joe Darby to the Parish Tourist Commission Board, Mathew Culpepper to the Fire District 5 Board, Ralph Hernandez to the Fire District 5 Board and Anita Dubois to the Children and Youth Planning Board
Introduce ordinance for budget revisions to the 2016 budget
Adopt resolution for the annual certification of compliance with the requirements of the federal off-system bridge replacement program.
Authorize Parish President to advertise for right-of-way appraisals and other services as required for the acquisition of right-of-way for the upcoming Federal Bridge Replacement projects on Clark, Good Hope and Robeline-Provencal Roads.
Authorize Parish President to contract for needed bridge repairs.
Introduce ordinance requiring that the salaries of Parish Government department heads directly reporting to the Parish President are reported as individual line items in the preparation and presentation of the Operating Budget.
Introduce ordinance requiring that beginning with the 2017 Operating Budget, no Parish Government department head reporting directly to the Parish President shall have a salary as reported on form W-2 that is equal to or exceeds the salary of the Parish President.
Introduce ordinance to develop a plan to broadcast, in real time, Parish Council meetings, making them readily accessible to the public.
Introduce ordinance to divide the current Parish Personnel Manual into two separate manuals, one containing the personnel policies and the other containing the job descriptions of Parish employees.
Approve resolution ordering that the Parish Council receive formal proposals for all auditing services performed for the Parish.
Approve resolution ordering the Parish Council to receive proposals by the end of the second quarter of 2017 for the vendor to act as the broker for all insurance policies for the Parish