Livingston Parish Council works to correct audit findings

The Livingston Parish Council is scheduled to select an auditing firm for the parish’s 2013 audit Thursday.

A recent report from the state Legislative Auditor’s Office shows the parish has been making strides to correct most of its findings from 2012, and parish officials say they are working to fix the rest before the end of the year.

The parish received three proposals for the 2013 audit, including a proposal and high bid of $96,000 from Hannis T. Bourgeois, who performed the 2012 audit.

LaPorte, of Covington, had the lowest bid at $82,500, followed by Faulk & Winkler at $90,000, parish records show.

The firms’ proposals will be evaluated based not only on bid total, but also on experience, hourly costs and other factors, council Finance Committee Chairman Chance Parent said.

Of the parish’s 30 audit findings in 2012, 22 had been corrected or were in the process of being corrected when the legislative auditor’s staff checked in with parish officials in September, according to a Dec. 4 report from the state Legislative Auditor’s Office.

Little to no progress had been made by September in addressing the remaining eight findings, according to the report.

Those unresolved issues included the parish’s inability to secure a $945,219 reimbursement for work done on Eden Church Road, to amend the parish budget when actual expenditures exceed the budget by 5 percent or more and to provide a complete and accurate road priority list for Parish Transportation Act funding.

In the parish’s written response to the report, Parish President Layton Ricks said the reimbursement for Eden Church Road was delayed due to a drainage issue that the Federal Highway Administration must approve. Correction of the issue is in progress, Ricks said.

The budget variances were the result of audit-related adjustments and should be self-correcting for 2013, he said.

Correcting the parish’s road priority list requires action of the Parish Council, he said.

Prior findings related to financial management practices, such as segregating duties to ensure against fraud, and properly coding and approving expenditures, showed significant improvement, according to the legislative auditor’s report.

Progress also had been made in correcting multiple findings related to grants management.