By Terry L. Jones
July 28, 2012
The Iberville Parish Council plans to call a special meeting next week with the intention of abolishing Waterworks District No. 2 in response to recent findings of questionable financial practices by the district’s former employees, council Chairman Matt Jewell said.
Dismantling the water district’s board of commissioners would place day-to-day operations and oversight of water service in East Iberville under the umbrella of the parish’s utilities department, Jewell said Thursday.
The waterworks district serves 1,572 customers –– primarily in St. Gabriel.
The state legislative auditor has placed the district on its noncompliance list, barring the district from receiving any additional federal or state funding.
The district’s status won’t change until parish officials submit a comprehensive corrective action plan and produce “adequate” records that can be properly audited, state Legislative Auditor Daryl Pupera said Thursday.
On Wednesday, Staci Joffrion, of the accounting firm Baxley & Associates, told the water district’s board that some of the findings include:
- More than $80,000 in unpaid construction invoices related to the district’s Safe Drinking Water project.
- Some $275,000 from a $3.2 million state loan the district received to fund the Safe Drinking Water project cannot be accounted for.
- A district employee paid $950 for work that was the responsibility of the district.
- Some employees paid in advance for work weeks, with the accounting firm unable to find supporting records of employee attendance or time sheets.
Several board members and a majority of the district’s employees resigned when the Parish Council stepped in to manage the water district back in March, Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso said Tuesday.
That’s when the council also took control of and abolished Waterworks District No. 4 in North Iberville to “streamline” its operations, but there were no questions at the time of any financial improprieties, Jewell said.
Waterworks Districts No. 2 and No. 3 are the only rural districts in the parish still governed by an appointed board of commissioners, said parish Utilities Director Brian Berthelot.