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Opelousas audit shows multiple problems from previous years

Posted at 2:38 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 15:38:20-04

A recently-released audit of the City of Opelousas shows that there are still some issues that began during a former mayor's administration.

The audit, which was conducted on the city's books for the fiscal year that ended August 31, found several problems in city business. Former Mayor Reggie Tatum left office in April. He was convicted in September on criminal charges relating to nearly $13,000 in overtime that he was accused of taking during his volunteer work at a relief shelter in the city during the Great Flood of 2016.

Mayor Julius Alsandor replaced Tatum in April 2019.

The audit report, which was prepared by the city's CPAs, listed 11 findings, nine of them repeated from previous years. Most of them first occurred during the 2018 fiscal year, which began September 1 2017. Tatum hired CAO Rod Sias in October 2017, touting him as a manager to handle the city's business.

You can read the entire audit for yourself by scrolling down. The findings, as well as the city's responses as to how they are addressing the issues, start on page 70.

Among the findings, the independent auditor noted the Police Department has not consistently obtained purchase orders, and the City has not followed purchasing procedures, including timely payment of invoices.

In addition, the City failed to maintain a list of capital assets or properly track additions and deletions. The City also has not submitted unclaimed property to the State Treasury, as required by law.

The auditor found as well that, while quarterly audits of traffic citations were performed, the audits were not sent to the City Clerk for review, as required. The City failed, too, to publish minutes for public meetings on a consistent basis and to advertise the original and amended budget for fiscal year 2019.

Other findings included timekeeping records not being properly maintained, consulting fees paid without detailed invoices being provided, and an insufficient cash balance in the customer deposit bank account to adequately cover the liability.

The City also was delinquent in filing and remitting sales taxes that should have been collected during 2018 and was assessed penalties and interest totaling $5,974.

In a separate management letter, the independent auditor noted that no payments had been received on outstanding ORECD program loans receivable in several years.

Here's the full report: