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Saturday, November 22, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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(mgnonline.com)

(mgnonline.com)

Oakdale audit turns up problems with city finances

Last Modified: Monday, September 09, 2013 5:49 PM

From staff reports

OAKDALE — Some city finances were not properly handled, resulting in more than $31,000 in payroll tax and credit card penalties, deficit-spending and overpaid leave for some employees over a two-year period, according to refiled audit reports for the city.

Two separate audit reports for 2011 and 2012 were released Monday after being refiled by the firm Darnall, Sikes, Gardes and Frederick of Eunice because of misstated information in the original filings.

The reports, totaling 230 pages, were first filed under the administration of former mayor Andrew Hayes but contained wrong or misleading information. The new audits found that some of the information, including a $1.7 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, was left out of the original 2011 audit filing.

The 2011 report also contained findings dealing with late payments of payroll taxes and late payment of city credit card debt, both with penalties as well as overpaid vacation and sick leave for employees, including some no longer employed by the city at the time.

The 2011 audit also found the town appeared to be deficit-spending, a practice that was reported again in 2012 with no written policy in place to eliminate it.

The unadjusted cash in the general fund master bank was also materially misstated as of June 30, 2011.

In addition, $43,343 payroll taxes for the entire second quarter of 2011 had not been paid as of Sept. 8, 2011. Credit card monthly bills were also not being paid in full.

Payroll tax penalties of $18,454 and credit card penalties of $3,008 were reported for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.

The audit also found some employees were overpaid vacation and sick leave.

Auditors found that one individual who was no longer with the city was overpaid eight hours of vacation. Another individual who was also no longer with the city was paid 12 hours of vacation time. Other individuals were overpaid for sick hours.

Overpayments to employees still employed by the city have been recovered. In response to the findings, the city said it had experienced a change in staff between the first and second quarters of 2011. The administration said payroll taxes will be handled properly and a policy to address deficit spending to include reduction in the allowed budget allocated to each department would be implemented.

All purchase orders for expenditures over $150 will also have to have administrative approval and all revenue sources are to be reviewed to identify opportunities for increase.

Program changes were also made on city computers to track vacation and sick leave.

Many of the same findings, including $6,340 in payroll tax penalties and $3,824 in credit card penalties were repeated in the 2012 audit. Auditors also found assessments, as well as miscoding of items that resulted in misstatements of financial records that auditors had to correct.

A new payroll clerk, with payroll experience, was hired in February 2012.lSFlbOnline: www.lla.state.la.us

Posted By: John M. On: 3/13/2014

Title: Concerned citizen

I feel the city miss manages it's funds very badly. The previous comment I agree with in regards to the city collecting fines. I see all day long the police officers issuing tickets for traffic offenses and then the person cited complains to their family member in city position or another position if influence. Having the ticket wiped away. If the officers are going to do their job then the city should do theirs and collect the fine. Not wash it away as a political or back room gesture. Second I don't see any mention of the city employee who is responsible for making the payments on the cities bills. This woman should be asked the hard question as to why she would write checks of the city did not hav the funds to cover them. Next it is strange that the city has city vehicles and the insurance has not been paid on. Then vehicles that are no longer in a condition to be operated have had insurance paid on them. This is financial stupidity. Don't get me started on payroll taxes. If any business in this state had not paid their payroll taxes they would have been shut down. This brings me now to worker compensation insurance. It has come to light in recent reviews that the city has failed to their legally required worker compensation payments. This failure has le to injured city workers not receiving the coverage they were required to get. Either no coverage at all or they had to argue to get the coverage they were needing. This disregard to employees violates ao many federal employee protected rights It is unreal. This leads to the million dollar question what happened to all the money. Who's pocket did it end up in. The previous comment was also spot on with its idea I electing officials who have the skills knowledge and abilities to run the city and mange it effectively. I can only hold faith and prayer that the city will find a fix for these issues that will help the city rise up and be the great city it has the potential to be. One that the citizens will be happy and proud to call their home. But I also think the citizens should look deeply within their conscience when they take to the polls for the next election an vote for leadership that will help the city not vote based on friendship and family origins. Only the people can demand change and get change if they no longer stand for mediocrity and the good ol' boy mentality.

Posted By: Taxpayer On: 9/10/2013

Title: TYPICAL

REALLY??? $150.00 for "administrative" (mayor's) approval....What are supervisors and budgets for???
If the city has been spending money it doesn't have, how can it afford to operate the future dog pound it has approved???

If the city has been spending money it doesn't have, how can it afford to operate the future dog pound it has approved???
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Posted By: Concerned Previous Citizen On: 9/10/2013

Title: Shame

It's a shame that the only time Oakdale gets mentioned in the news, it is in regards to something negative. If the people of Oakdale would stop appointing their friends into public office, and start electing/hiring individuals that are qualified to perform daily duties, maybe the city would be in a better financial standing. I read the Oakdale Journal every week, and it seems that the city could pay all of there debts in full if they were collecting the fines from all the arrests being made, but I am sure that is not being handled correctly either. Wake up Oakdale residents, these problems are not going to fix themselves. Eventually the town is going suffer (more so than it already has) and the city will continue to fall further and further behind. Oakdale is a decent size town, with huge potential to be a prosperous community, but one person cannot achieve this goal alone. When are the city officials going to stop sticking their heads in the ground every time a problem becomes evident, and start being proactive in resolving these issues. I would like to think that something is going to change soon, but based on what i have seen in recent years there is little hope.

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