Water Board Blasted By Audit
ST. GABRIEL, La. (AP) — Board members of Iberville Parish's Water District No. 2 are regrouping after an independent audit was highly critical of the panel's handling of fiscal affairs.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/OrPdr0) that as a result of the audit's findings, the district is no longer eligible for state or federal funding.
"I'm very, very shocked, and disappointed," board Chairman Jessie Thomas said. "All along we thought we were in tip-top shape. Our members are going to have to get together and have a meeting to see where we stand."
Parish Council President Matt Jewell said the council plans a special meeting to determine the parish's next course of action.
The audit findings were made public at the council's meeting earlier this week.
Tuesday night's Parish Council meeting, where the contents of the audits were made public. Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso said he is not certain whether a criminal investigation will follow.
Officials with the two accounting firms that conducted audits on the water district's financial records for the 2010 fiscal year briefed the council.
According to a July 13 letter from the Louisiana legislative auditor, the district was placed on the department's noncompliance list because of an opinion included in the parishwide audit report conducted by Baxley & Associates.
Staff accountant Margaret Pritchard told the council Baxley noted the water district's financial records lacked documentation supporting the values assigned to financial statements, cash accounts and meter deposits.
"This puts a black eye on the parish as a whole," Ourso said. "The most serious matter is the accountability. This is an embarrassment to the parish."
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com