St. Landry agency audit shows deficit

An internal Community Action Agency audit report shows 12 areas of internal and compliance irregularities for the 2012 fiscal year and the St. Landry Parish agency’s liabities exceeding its assets by $63,219.

Steven Moosa, of the certified public accounting firm of Darnall, Sikes, Gardes and Frederick, who conducted the audit at the request of St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot, also found the agency showed a fund deficit of about $267,000 in its weatherization program.

Moosa said the CAA audit, which was presented at Wednesday’s parish council meeting, began in October and ended in December. The agency’s 2012 fiscal year ended July 31.

The CAA is responsible for overseeing federal grant money provided to St. Landry to help low-income residents for food distribution, home repairs and other services.

The audit listed CAA compliance issues in the areas of timely submittal of audit reports; interfund handling of receivable and payables; failure to reconcile interfund accounts in a timely manner ; accounting records and bank reconciliation; financial statement reporting; budget presentation and amendments; improper cash management and reporting and mixing of funds.

Although the CAA owes the federal government about $200,000 for grant funding that was not spent for low-income energy assistance, Fontenot said he does not expect any programs to be discontinued.

“Right now we are asking (the federal government) for mercy,” Fontenot told the council.

Fontenot said he is also in the process of appointing the CAA’s board of directors after all the previous board members stepped down. A board is necessary to receive future grant payments, he said.

The audit also found deficits of $1,130 for emergency food and shelter; $2,027 for a community services bloc development grant; $53,332 in the Medicaid fund; $50,354 in a specialized fund; $112,114 for the food for seniors program; and $107,112 for Family Independence.

Moosa said the agency’s accounting problems occurred primarily when funds issued to cover the costs of one program were transferred to another program in order to offset deficits.

The audit also found the CAA did not have a person with qualifications and training to properly record transactions and prepare financial statements. It also questioned the use of CAA employees who had been laid off temporarily and worked for the CAA while collecting unemployment benefits.