NewsCovering Louisiana


State auditors find issues with Supreme Court procedures

Louisiana Supreme Court.jpg
Posted at 9:28 AM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 10:28:01-05

Auditors checking the state Supreme Court's business procedures found problems with property reporting and tax filing, a report released Monday says.

The state Legislative Auditor evaluated the Court's financial reporting, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and
accountability over public funds for the period July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2021. To read the full report, click here.

Both findings in the check were attributed by auditors to a lack of policies and procedures. The Court's response indicates those rules are being written.

On the property issue, auditors found the Court did not enter information about items it bought into the state’s movable property system within the required time frame.

Some of the 84 items purchased between February 2017 and April 2021 weren't entered into the system within the two-month time frame allowed by state regulations; some were entered more than 800 days after the deadline. Those 84 items cost taxpayers more than $581,000.

In addition, 25 items totaling $40,582 that were purchased on a single day in August 2020 still had not been entered into the system as of June 30, 2021.

Auditors also found the Court could incur penalties and interest because it did not file federal payroll taxes and annual forms and information returns by the due date for tax periods before January 1, 2021.

The Court's response to the report attributes the property management issues to staff issues, including a 44 percent turnover rate.

"Striving for excellence in stewardship of public funds, the Court adheres to a policy of stringent, not surplus, staffing. A byproduct of this culture is a lack of idle personnel available to instantaneously assume additional responsibilities, especially the arduous obligations of a property manager," wrote Chief Justice John L. Weimer. "With the recent and sudden departure of the property manager responsible for two property agencies, the Court was faced with rapidly approaching asset certifications; and these asset certifications became the immediate focus. Once the asset certifications were completed, the attention shifted to eliminating the backlog of work compounded by the current pandemic restrictions."