Welsh council asked to seek a new auditor

<p class="p1">WELSH — A move to appoint a new firm to oversee the town’s finances failed Tuesday after several officials said that doing so near the beginning of the annual audit would be a mistake.

<p class="p1">Alderman Colby Perry asked the council Tuesday to seek bids from other companies, saying the change could save the town money and would give a local business a shot at the contract.

<p class="p1">“I think it is rather a large expenditure and we have been using the same firm (for several years),” Perry said. “There are some local CPA firms in Jennings, and I think we should see who comes in cheaper.”

<p class="p1">The public, he said, has criticized town officials in the past for not getting bids on auditing — a service officials don’t have to seek bids for.

<p class="p1">After a lengthy discussion the council voted to retain the current accounting firm, McElroy, Quirk and Burch of Lake Charles.

<p class="p1">Mayor Carolyn Louviere and town attorney Rick Arceneaux expressed concern over the timing for seeking and awarding a bid.

{{tncms-inline alignment="center" content="&amp;lt;p style=&amp;quot;text-align: left;&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;em&amp;gt;&amp;amp;ldquo;Selecting an auditor is something that we have to do quickly.&amp;amp;rdquo;&amp;lt;/em&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p style=&amp;quot;text-align: left;&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;em&amp;gt;&amp;amp;nbsp;-&amp;amp;nbsp;Mayor Carolyn Louviere&amp;lt;/em&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;" id="2ab137e6-14d2-451e-b227-eb2f6f95b123" style-type="quote" title="Pull Quote" type="relcontent" width="full"}}

<p class="p1">Arceneaux noted that work on the annual audit usually runs from July through November, with auditors and town employees often pushing deadlines to get the report done and submitted to the state.

<p class="p1">Delaying a decision to seek a new auditor would give the town more time to look at someone else for the next fiscal year, Louviere said.

“Continue on this this year, and in the meantime we will have more time to start looking," she said.

 Louviere noted that often looking for the cheapest is not always the best. “This is too important, and this is a big important issue,” she said.

<p class="p1">Resident Jackie McGee Balmor defended the work of the current firm, saying it is among the most reputable and is familiar with town operations.

<p class="p1">“They know where to look for mistakes. They understand the workings,” she said. “They are the most qualified to do this one than anybody else.”

<p class="p1">Louviere agreed, saying the firm is “very qualified” and has worked with the town well in the past.

<p style="text-align: left;"><em>“Selecting an auditor is something that we have to do quickly.”</em>

<p style="text-align: left;"><em> – Mayor Carolyn Louviere</em>

      dc42322c-d9d8-11e7-b171-e72c51259a8b2017-12-05T19:00:00Z#localcrimenews/crime,newsGuilty verdict in LC slayingLisaAddisonCrime and Courts Reporterhttps://www.americanpress.com/content/tncms/avatars/4/39/103/439103f2-3a5d-11e7-8912-a70d9d672a56.269b42a392c68396b8cb8ae2e47fc9d8.png<p class="p1">After a trial with twists and turns that included a two-day recess and material witnesses who couldn’t be located, a 25-year-old Lake Charles man was found guilty of manslaughter on Monday in state district court. </p><p class="p1">Michael Ja’rel Tutson shot and killed Damion Derrelle Jackson, 32, on Aug. 29, 2013. Officers found Jackson bleeding on the sidewalk after multiple gunshot wounds and he died at a local hospital. </p><p class="p1">Tutson has been in jail on $500,000 bond since his arrest four years ago. </p><p class="p1">Charged with second-degree murder, Tutson’s trial began last Wednesday but after just one day it came to a halt and the trial went into recess on Thursday when two key witnesses for the prosecution couldn’t be located. </p><p class="p1">Police were searching for Marcus Dewayne Handy, 23, who is still at large, and Lee James Gibbs, 25, who turned himself in on Monday morning. Others arrested in the last few days with trying to help the men evade capture include Shameka McClain, 31; Damien Dewain Louis Jr., 17; Chris Ann Gibbs, 47; and Miyah Dena Moss, 17.</p><p class="p1">Lee James Gibbs testified for the prosecution on Monday although prosecutor Ross Murray said he did so as an adversarial witness.</p><p class="p1">He told the court that he and Tutson had grown up together and both attended the same high school. When asked what he remembered about the night that Jackson was killed, Gibbs was silent. </p><p class="p1">He finally told Murray that he remembered giving several different statements to police and that he had “read some of what they said I said in my statements.” </p><p class="p1">An interrogation of Gibbs was shown in court in which he talked of getting a text from Handy on the night of the shooting and it instructed him to pick Handy up but not at his house where he lived with Tutson and his family. </p><p class="p1">“I picked up Michael and Marcus and that’s when Marcus started saying, ‘Man, a guy got murdered,’ “ said Gibbs on the tape. “We went to the civic center and I was smoking a blunt and Michael was real quiet. Marcus said, ‘Man, Michael caught the dude looking in the window at  his house and he was chasing him.’ “ </p><p class="p1">Gibbs described that moment as being when “all hell broke loose and that his mind flipped.” </p><p class="p1">“Michael said he shot him — pow, pow, pow — and then the gun jammed,” said Gibbs. </p><p class="p1">Defense attorney Michael McHale asked Gibbs if he had been truthful in his interrogation and in all of his statements to police and he said he had not. </p><p class="p1">Gibbs said he had made up about 75 percent of what he said in his interrogation three years ago because he had been picked up on an accessory after the fact charge and he wanted to get out of jail because his grandmother was ill. </p><p class="p1">If neither of the witnesses had been located by Monday, Judge David Ritchie had said he planned to declare a mistrial. Ritchie said in his 14 years on the bench, he had never had to grant a recess because of a witness situation. </p><p class="p1">Sentencing for Tutson is set for Feb. 23. </p><p class="p1">A person convicted of manslaughter in Louisiana faces at maximum a 40-year prison sentence. </p>””Court – GavelMGN Online

Local News

Pair has passion for civic engagement

Local News

Nonprofit director to retire: Hickman has worked for BArc for 39 years

Local News

Christian Youth Theater opens season with ‘Adam’s Family’

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Let health experts call shots

high-school Football

Jennings High comes to aid of former foe

Local News

Victims of Ida get glimpse of journey ahead

Local News

Support workers not pleased with supplemental pay plan in Jeff Davis

Local News

Only a fraction of funding reimbursed to Cameron by FEMA

Local News

15 child deaths attributed to COVID in La.

Local News

School Board extends COVID-related sick leave policy

Local News

Kind Vibes Only: CPSO hosts one-mile anti-bullying walk

Local News

Sowela rolls out fifth annual Flying Tigers Car Show

Local News

Parents urge Jeff Davis School Board to oppose any vaccine mandate

Local News

City hiring two agencies to help with disaster recovery financial advocacy

Crime

Man arrested in Monday shooting near McNeese campus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business