Audit: Orleans Sheriff's Office Paid Non-Eligible Employees

LA legislative auditor Daryl Purpera

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office appears to have paid 56 non-eligible employees more than $1 million in state money, legislative auditor Daryl Purpera said.

         Clerks, mailroom, facility management, kitchen and other administrative workers received state supplemental pay even though they were assigned to "purely clerical or non-enforcement duties" between January 2011 and September 2014, according to an audit released Monday.

         Several said they were assigned to work 8 hours a week at a jail to qualify for the pay, according to the audit.

         It also said Col. Lucien Roy Austin may have broken the law both by running a private security company and by doing its work while he was on duty, and the sheriff's office paid 16 deputies nearly $4,700 for work while they actually were doing off-duty security work.

         The sheriff's office also failed to follow public bid law when waterproofing inmate showers, the audit alleged.

         In a response released with the audit, lawyers for Sheriff Marlin Gusman say the deputies who got state supplemental pay were eligible for it.

         "There is just no support for your claim that 50 percent or more of a deputy's time must be spent in law enforcement duties for the deputy to be eligible for state supplemental pay," they wrote.

         The attorneys said they cannot comment on the allegations about the private security business because that's being investigated and are looking for the shower contract paperwork.

         "All of the Sheriffs records recently were moved to a new facility," they wrote. "In the time allotted to us to respond to your draft Findings we have been unable to locate the bidding and contract records for this project. However, we are actively investigating this matter and we will supplement our response when the bid and contract documents are located."



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