Audit findings graphic

JENNINGS — Jeff Davis Parish police jurors may have interfered with local road districts, fire districts, gravity drainage boards and other parish boards an audit found.

In presenting audit findings for 2018 to police jurors Wednesday, auditor J. Aaron Cooper said it appears some police jurors are trying to influence activities and decisions of component units of the police jury.

State law prohibits individual jurors from directing or influencing individual districts, he said.

"Police jurors have to act together," Cooper said. "They can't act individually to promote anything, even if they are in their districts ... they can't do that."

Police jurors can only make decisions and take action during public meetings with a quorum of members present. Any decisions must be made for the betterment of the parish as a whole with a majority of the vote, he said.

It appears some jurors are not aware of the prohibited activities, he said.

Police Juror President Donald Woods said police jurors should be aware of the law.

"I have preached to them to not tell people what to do," Woods said. "They have been told they can't do this, that they are breaking the law."

Police jurors should also have been aware of the law because they receive yearly ethics training, he said.

In a recurring finding from 2015, Cooper said more improvements are needed to maintain the parish's fixed assets, which includes inventory of all equipment and buildings.

Improvements were made in updating and reconciling the fixed asset system, but more improvement is needed so that the system is updated for the current year activity in a timely manner, he said. Some corrections were also needed to reconcile the additions per the fixed asset system to the general ledger.

Cooper said due to medical absences and personnel changes, the update did not begin early enough before the audit deadline. In addition, he found the fixed asset system was not completely reconciled to the general ledger, causing errors to go undetected.

"I think we need to do a little bit of checking and cross-checking," Cooper said. "We're inputting them fast and fast and not having enough time to check them against the accounting system to make sure we have accounted for everything in a timely manner."

The system should be updated when purchases are made and reconciled to the general ledger on a monthly basis, he said.

Woods said additional personnel have been hired to address the issue.

Problems with internal control over receivables were also noted in the audit findings.

A review of cash receipt and cash disbursements found personnel failed to accurately list items for accrual. Failure to list all receivables and payables accurately could lead to a misstatement of the financial records.

Problems were also indicated in the Section 8 housing choice voucher program where tenant income and expenses were calculated incorrectly or not supported by proper documentation, Cooper said.

Eligibility for the program requires family income and expenses to be calculated accurately and properly documented, he said.

A review of tenant files found that $3,120 in housing and utility assistance payments were overpaid for three tenants due to inaccurate income and expense and calculations.

The Police Jury has hired a new Section 8 coordinator and a consultant to review program files and provide training for the new coordinator.

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