Apr 11, 2011 11:25 PM by Maddie Garrett

State Releases Audit of Evangeline Parish Police Jury

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury is undergoing a major overhaul, including possible layoffs, after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor released a Compliance Audit on Monday.

Police Jury President Eric Soileau says he believes wrongdoings have been going on within the Police Jury for several years now.

"They had some discrepancies that we had to have looked into, and when we got to those steps we turned it over to the DA and he in turn also turned it over to state auditors," said Soileau.

So he and other jurors requested an audit over a year ago.

"We've been working with this for a while, there's like a year, year and a half that this has been going on," said Soileau.

Here's are the three main discrepancies the Louisiana Legislative Auditor found:

-Employees paid for time not worked
-Failure to apply Public Bid Laws
-Lack of proper control over tire service

According to audit documents, Region A Supervisor Donald Thomas told auditors he regularly paid himself and other employees for over time hours they didn't work. In the audit it states: "According to Mr. Thomas, employees do not make a lot of money and because they are good employees and reliable, he records extra hours on their timecards to pay them extra."

Extra -- to the tune of $16,420 on payroll. The audit report showed Thomas would turn in fraudulent time sheets and double over time hours in some cases, including his own hours.

The documents also showed that Thomas allowed himself and other employees to do personal work at the maintenance yard on Police Jury time when work was slow.

Thomas has been on unpaid suspension since January 31st, along with three other Region A employees: Donald Fontenot, Harrison Thomas and Emery Guillory. Their suspension came after the Police Jury received a preliminary report of the audit.

Juror Davis Manuel could also be in hot water because he's accused of forging invoices and price quotes in the purchase of equipment, which could violate Louisiana Public Bid Laws.

"We have implemented numerous policies and procedures that are in place now that would prevent a lot of this from happening," said Soileau.

Soileau said since the audit began, the Police Jury has already started changing the way it operates. Now they hope to get some of the money back lost to improper services, purchases and payroll.

"We're going to talk with our legal counsel, but we do plan on pursuing reimbursement," he said.

Soileau said the Police Jury will meet with the District Attorney this week to find out what legal actions they can take.



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