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
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Ten departing CEOs rake in $430 million; profile of FSU gunman emerges; Buffalo's weather woes and more national and international news for Friday, November 21, 2014.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.
The money came through a general obligation bond sale Thursday.
A legend in the Acadiana Oil Patch, Comeaux died Monday, Nov. 17.
With a growing number of alleged sexual assault victims coming out against Bill Cosby in recent weeks, upcoming projects have been canned by NBC and Netflix, but that won’t affect the once-loved comedian and actor’s scheduled performance in Lafayette.
The Baltimore Ravens' retooled secondary had no trouble against a rookie quarterback at home. This week, however, their task is far more challenging: stopping Drew Brees on the road in New Orleans.
Add Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name to the list of possible Republican presidential candidates flooding the campaign trail for GOP Senate candidate Bill Cassidy.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Florida this week with his fellow Republican governors for another gripe session aimed at their favorite target, the president, this time taking aim at his immigration plans.
Early voting for the runoff is shortened by two days because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Coach Don” Gagnard is running for school board. Today he offers his critique of the socioeconomic relationship between government subsidies and obesity.
Former Le Rosier chef who cooked at the James Beard House and was named one of the “Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine magazine in 1995 was 48.
Pat Cooper is contesting his termination by the LPSB, filing a petition Tuesday that calls the recent decision “arbitrary and capricious.”
A look at the numbers highlights the challenge facing Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu as she tries to win a fourth term in a Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising the new Republican majority will quickly resurrect Keystone XL pipeline legislation killed by Democrats, potentially setting up an early 2015 veto confrontation with President Barack Obama.
A national animal rights group has been rebuffed by a Baton Rouge district court judge, although the group might still get its day in court.
The administration says public college campuses won't be on the chopping block.
The legendary musician is performing at a $1,000-per-person fundraiser Dec. 1 in New Orleans.
Old savings and checking accounts, payroll checks, stocks and dividends, insurance proceeds, oil and gas royalty payments and other unclaimed money is sent to the state when a business cannot locate someone.