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Audit: Opelousas mayor may have violated law with flood overtime - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Audit: Opelousas mayor may have violated law with flood overtime payment

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Opelousas Mayor Reggie Tatum / KATC Opelousas Mayor Reggie Tatum / KATC
OPELOUSAS, La. -

The Mayor of Opelousas received overtime pay in 2016 that pushed his salary above the amount set by the City Council, which could be a violation of state law, the Legislative Auditor said in a report released today. The investigative audit was conducted in response to complaints received by the LLA.

Auditors found that the Mayor was paid for 234 hours of overtime for running the City's Civic Center shelter, which was opened up for residents forced out of their homes by flooding in August 2016. In total, he received $12,973 in overtime pay, along with his annual salary of $76,875. However, state law requires the City Council to determine the Mayor's salary through a City ordinance, including any provisions for overtime pay. The Opelousas ordinance did not have any such provision.

Auditors also noted that the Mayor asked for and received a check from the City for $3,005, but could not provide documentation to explain how $1,234 of that amount was spent. As a result, the Mayor could not demonstrate that the money was spent for public purposes.

In addition, auditors found that the City paid three different city attorneys a total of nearly $152,000 between January 2013 and December 2016. However, one former attorney did not have a contract with the City, while two former attorneys received some pay before any work was performed, and no invoices could be found to document those payments.

The audit report noted as well that the Opelousas Police Department may have unlawfully disposed of some traffic citations from a Local Agency Compensated Enforcement detail that ran from January 2014 to December 2016. Although these traffic citations should have been sent to the District Attorney's Office for processing, auditors found that 68 citations issued during the detail were not. 

In addition, auditors found that the Police Department sign-up sheet for the LACE detail stated that the detail was for two traffic citations per hour. State law forbids the offering of financial rewards or other benefits to law enforcement officers based on the number of traffic citations they issue.

View the audit report below:

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