Nice work if you can get it
Albert Simien is a lucky man. He pockets $1,200 a month to transport two Opelousas residents to dialysis treatments on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays — in a city vehicle whose tank is filled by a city-issued Fuelman card.
Paperwork? Heck no.
Simien is not required to present any documentation for his service, indicate who is enrolled in the program or prove that they qualify. There also is no record of the city ever approving the practice.
While the state constitution “allows for welfare to the public,” auditor Dan Daigle says, there must be a documented program in place to provide this type of service. “I think if the parish has a plan that it can show that the person is destitute and can’t afford it, that it’s in the best public interest to expend the funds in this manner for this person, then I think it’s constitutionally permissible. But there must be a plan. You just can’t give money away.” Even with such documentation, Daigle — like most reasonable people — believes $1,200 a month to transport two patients “seems like a lot to pay.”
State auditors questioned this expenditure and exposed other potentially unethical and illegal practices after acting on information the office received about alleged improper use of public funds by the city of Opelousas. The state reviewed available city records for about a three-year period and conducted interviews with employees and other parties. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor posts its audit reports, along with management’s response, online. View independent and legislative audits of the LHA, OHA and city of Opelousas at http://www.lla.state.la.us/. — LT
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, April 17, 2014:
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.