May 13, 2013 5:08 PM by Tina Macias
The Louisiana Legislative Auditor has reviewed an audit of the City of Opelousas and says the city has a lack of policies and financial control, which has been an ongoing problem in the city.
The auditor says the city's lack of checks and balances allowed city clerk Racheal St. Romain to deposit almost $12,000 in city funds into her personal account. Last summer, St. Romain resigned and pleaded guilty to theft charges for which she is on two year probation and paying restitution.
Now bank statements are being reviewed by Opelousas officials, and it is making other changes to improve its finances but it is not clear if it has corrected everything. When the audit was completed, the city did not have a policy for credit card use, nor did it monitor use well. It consistently made late credit card and lease payments.
No Opelousas City employee, including Mayor Don Cravins, wanted to be interviewed on camera for this story, but City Clerk Karen Frank said changes have been made to strengthen checks and balances.
New policies have been written, including one that requires employees to submit a purchase order for any credit card charge over $300.
In addition, a new employee was added to the executive department to oversee credit card and lease payments, along with some purchases.