BATON ROUGE — Jeanerette fiscal administrator David Greer updated the Louisiana Legislative Audit Advisory Council Thursday morning on the improvements being made in Jeanerette during the past year, ending with a note of optimism that his time may be drawing to a close in the near future.
Greer, who was appointed to the position after three consecutive audits failed to be passed by the city of Jeanerette in 2015, 2016 and 2017, told the committee of state representatives about recent improvements to town government as well as the reasons they were there in the first place.
“Jeanerette has been somewhat of a challenge,” Greer said. “The city had not had an audit when I stepped in the door for (20)15, ’16 and ’17. We have since had audits, all of which were disclaimers of opinion, we don’t have any accountability for the finances and the operations of the city for those years, no one truly knows.”
The 2019 audit is currently engaged by auditors, Greer said, but will likely only be a balance sheet of town finances so future audits will have a baseline to work with.
Greer also mentioned the investigate audit that was released in October of 2018 that revealed utility bills collected but not deposited, state and federal taxes not paid and witness fees collected by the town from Iberia Parish Government but not paid to police officers.
He added that bank reconciliations were not performed and record keeping was in shambles when he had stepped in as fiscal administrator as well.
However, Greer said new personnel had been added, including a new clerk and treasurer who the fiscal administrator said were very competent.
“We have a new mayor, Carol Bourgeois Jr., new members of the board,” Greer said. “They’re working together and the meetings are good, the finance committee is very active.”
Also reviewed were recent changes to garbage, sewer and water rates to the town, which Greer said were all operating at a loss before the increase.
“We’ve made a lot of progress and I believe that we will be good in Jeanerette,” he said.
Chairman of the council Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, asked if the problems in Jeanerette during the previous administration met the requirements to be considered malfeasance.
“There is an ongoing investigation related to the operations of the city, from the standpoint of money being stolen, people not being billed properly, a meter reader who wasn’t reading meters, non-payment of taxes, those things are still under investigation,” Greer responded.
“Hopefully all these little towns can get it together,” Stokes said. “It breaks my heart to hear some of that stuff.”