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Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters Angie Quienalty. (American Press Archives)

Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters Angie Quienalty. (American Press Archives)

Calcasieu Registrar of Voters office hit hard by internal investigation

Last Modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 9:00 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters Angie Quienalty claimed time for hours she did not work, used a parish-owned vehicle for personal reasons and had her staff run errands for her while on the clock, according to an audit issued Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office.

The 27-page report by state Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera outlines an internal investigation by the Louisiana secretary of state. It stated that Quienalty and her staff did not regularly keep timesheets for hours worked, and that Quienalty either had inaccurate odometer readings at the pump or did not document them.

Quienalty has served as Calcasieu’s voter registrar since 1995 and was appointed by the Calcasieu Police Jury. Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said in an email that the parish “has no legal authority regarding oversight, discipline, or setting office policies for the registrar of voters.” The state Board of Election Supervisors can remove a voter registrar.

Holly Carter, spokeswoman for the Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office, said the audit is being reviewed.


Timesheets

Before April, Quienalty was not in the Lake Charles office 40 hours a week, and she “came in late, left early, and took extended lunch breaks,” her staff said in the audit. The audit showed that Quienalty did not write down what time she arrived for and left work, according to payroll documents for pay periods ending in January, February and September of last year.

Secretary of State Elections Compliance Unit investigators observed Quienalty on five work days between March and April and found that she worked 22.25 hours, but recorded 30 hours of work. The report indicates that Quienalty found out around mid-April that she was being watched by investigators. Soon after, she asked the Secretary of State’s office to increase her annual leave from earlier time sheets by 4.5 hours.

In May, Quienalty said she would repay 21 hours of paid overtime and asked for those hours to be removed. Quienalty said she was “having serious personal issues ... and did not document probably as I should have daily.”

The Secretary of State’s office estimated that paying the overtime back would amount to $981. At the time of the report’s release, the matter was not resolved between Quienalty and the secretary of state.


Errands

Two members of Quienalty’s staff said they ran errands for her while on the clock, according to the report. The errands varied from decorating a restaurant for her son’s graduation party to doing legal research for a personal acquaintance. In the report, Quienalty confirmed that her staff ran the errands, using “a minimal amount of clock time.” The report indicates that Quienalty used her parish vehicle, a 2008 Ford Explorer, to run errands outside of work — including picking up her son in New Orleans.

The parish allows its employees to use parish-owned vehicles for “minimal personal usage” like running an errand on the way home from work. Quienalty initially told the auditor’s office that she only uses the vehicle for work, but upon further questioning, said she “may have gone from home to the store or mall, but did not go to the casino or drive all over.”

The auditor’s office found 34 instances from April 2008 through last October where odometer readings were inaccurate or not written down. An attorney representing Quienalty said “she does not maintain receipts for fuel purchases.”


Response

Quienalty called the investigation “invasive,” and that it “created a substantial impairment to the efficiency and morale of the office.” She said the audit was prompted when a former employee of hers complained to the secretary of state’s office and the legislative auditor. She said the inquiry initially “focused on a missing vacuum cleaner and on a missing plastic bin.”

“Subsequent to the production of both of these two items, the inquiry shifted to an analysis of ‘policies and procedures’ on ‘leave and attendance’ record-keeping, and on record-keeping for use of a parish-owned vehicle,” she said.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler said in a statement that his office is obligated to investigate “when credible allegations are brought to my attention.”

The registrar of voters office has four full-time employees and “several temporary employees,” according to the report. Quienalty said three full-time workers are civil service employees who must “follow the state civil service record-keeping requirements,” and others are parish employees who follow policies set by the Police Jury.

“It is impractical, unduly burdensome — and potentially unwise — to attempt to burden the Office with even additional written policies and procedures,” she said.

Quienalty said the secretary of state’s office did not report that she was at the parish voting machine warehouse on March 27 “unsealing voting machines, verifying vote totals from the machines” and counting ballots.

Meg Casper, press secretary for the secretary of state, said their office knew she was at the warehouse. In the audit, Quienalty recorded working 10 hours on March 27, but was observed working 6.5 hours. Casper said that Quienalty later explained that she should have written down 3.5 hours of annual leave time.

Posted By: Helen Elizabeth Long On: 3/19/2013

Title: Know the Truth

In reviewing the article presented here on Ms. Quienalty and the Office of Registrar of Voters, it brings to mind a certain "Witch Hunt" that happened so long ago. The State, the Parish, the City, and even our School Board's scream they don't have the money to fund what needs to be funded in order to maintain adequate economic conditions for our present as well all as our future and our children's future, but the Louisiana State Audit Department has the time and the extended money tree to pursue such a matter only to the extent of receiving a phone call or a formal written complaint from a disgruntled employee. When a full and proper investigation is done by anyone, the one thing that is always part of the complaint is the person who filed the complaint and did so knowingly because said person was right in the thick of things that allegedly may have been done. Therefore, how come, accusations can be made of Ms. Quienalty, but the one who did the accusing has not presented themselves to the public. More so, why are we worried about 7.75 hours when Ms. Quienalty admitted to failure to keep adequate time records and stated she would reimburse in order to pay the funds back, so to correct the wrong. Better yet, who in this society or even within our community, Calcasieu Parish, has taken a postal stamp, an envelope, or even showed up to work 15 minutes late and told their employer they forgot to clock-in and just wrote in their time slip. You see before we begin to throw stones or even look for the witch of the day, week or month; maybe we need to look at who has the integrity to make things right by admitting and attempting to do the right thing for her own person as well as the for the position that is held. Bring forth the accuser and make your accusations known to the public rather than hiding behind the big eye in the sky. Ms. Quienalty, I salute you and the job that you have done for our community. You have been a dedicated community servant for the past 18 years and have expanded your office to two satellite offices in order to make sure everyone in our community has an opportunity to vote. Ms. Quienalty your dedication and commitment to our community far reaches anything negative anyone could ever say.

Posted By: Dawn Johnson On: 3/19/2013

Title: Look who they give jobs to

As many times as I tryed to get employed by the cppj I have not gotten hired.
but thats who they give jobs to are a pay raise to.. when they give you the surveys on these applications they ask you questions about polices and pracedures its crazy and all of them in that office is rude and unfriendly... but thats what gets you a job there...SMH!!! WOW!!!!

Posted By: A Concerned Citizen On: 3/18/2013

Title: Who's calling the kettle black?

Ms Quienalty has been doing an excellent job as Register of Voters for almost 20 years. What is really going on here? Does someone have a friend or relative who would like to be Register of Voters? How much money was spent on this unnecessary audit? How can Ms Quienalty extend out to the public and not leave her desk? Does Ms Quienalty need to explain to the people she supervises every time she travels to one of the many polling places she keeps in order that we, the public,can vote? Is this a joke or just a job for the auditors? Let's start spending less money on unprovoked audits and let Ms Quienalty continue to do her job.

Posted By: Disgusted On: 3/18/2013

Title: If we only knew

The question should be WHY were these employees ok with doing non business related tasks during business time. The answer is INTEGRITY they don't possess it another explanation is no one is overseeing the governement. Obviously someone told on them for their to be an investigation. Probably one of the people who was right there with her doing all of the personal business. What about the school board. They feed our children garbage and scream they don't have money. WHen they WASTE! They have a "secretary" who worked there for several years at the administrative building and had LOTS of equipment and electronics ex. computers laptops etc that were used soley for PERSONAL use. WHY do the kids have to eat a teaspoon of food and these people get to have us buy them whatever they want. Someone needs to go over these governement budgets and spending with a fine tooth comb! It has to be soemone with integrity because they'll be paid off to say they didn't find what they found otherwise. There are lots of things that go on at these governement agencies that if the public would have knowledge of everyone would be in an uproar!!

Posted By: Disgusted On: 3/18/2013

Title: Obviously One of her employees is disgrunteled!!!

Not surprised that this is happening with a governement agency. I personally know people who work in her office, and the court house in general. They do what they want because there is no oversight that says if you do this this is your consequence. Those employees chose to do non work related activities and now want to report it because something didn't go their way. It's called integrity not many people have it and surely many don't even know the word! Take a look at the school board's administration. I know of a "secretary" who had MANY electronics that belonged to the school board who uses them soley for PERSONAL USE but yet they justify feeding the kids garbage because of "low funds" someone needs to go over all governement budgets and spending habits with a fine tooth comb to elimate this and more than likely if someone would go over the budgets they could be paid to help them continue their ludacris spending.

Posted By: Doug On: 3/18/2013

Title: O Really, Mr. Felice?

Yes, it is a "race" thing, which is why you are trying to defend "your own" in an indefensible situation. Or maybe it is just one more case of "whose hands cheating the system are the WHITEST"?

Posted By: tax paying peon On: 3/18/2013

Title: there is a pattern

How many more public bodies or agencies or public WHATEVER will be audited and then say "We have no policies or procedures in place to keep up from stealing public money, so we did."!!????? This time, it is the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury who has FAILED to supply PUBLIC EMPLOYEES with the proper "procedures and policies". Where is the news paper reporter to ask the obvious question and the VERY NEXT PUBLIC BODY MEETING if there are proper "policies and procedures" in place so the PUBLIC BODY having the VERY NEXT MEETING does NOT STEAL PUBLIC MONEY????!!!!!! Where is the Calcasie Parish Police Jury President on this issue and why THERE IS A PATTERN OF PUBLIC BODIES WHO HIDE BEHIND "THERE IS NO PROCEDURE OR POLICY IN PLACE TO KEEP ME FROM STEALING SO I DID."??!!

Posted By: JOSEPH A. FELICE On: 3/18/2013

Title: MR.

THIS COULD BE A RACE THING.......OR WHOSE FACE IS THE BLACKEST......IF SHE BOUGHT GAS FOR THIS VAN/CAR...OR WENT SOMEWHERE ON WORKING TIME.....WHAT IS IT TO HYPOCRITES.......??? THE HYPOCRITES WASTE MORE MONEY THAT OTHER PEOPLE....HOW MUCH DID THIS COST? $2.00? OR $3.00 OR $5.00?? WHAT KETTLE IS THE BLACKEST?????

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