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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Lasseigne Role as Auditor Questioned at Council Meeting

Lasseigne Role as Auditor Questioned at Council Meeting

Dr. Tommy Lasseigne’s report at the Lafourche Parish Council public meeting Tuesday night generated much discussion from council members about his role as Legislative Internal Auditor.

Lasseigne listed many of his activities since being appointed to the position of legislative auditor, particularly audits of the library, hospital, and fire district boards. He also listed upcoming activities including meeting with DA Cam Morvant, spot audits of the coroner’s office, and even auditing commodities distribution within the parish.

When Parish President Charlotte Randolph questioned whether it was proper for Lasseigne to “monitor” commodity distribution, Council Chairman Lindell Toups defended Lasseigne.

“You’re instructing him to go to commodity distribution?” Randolph asked Toups.

“I asked him to go because information was held back. Things were done illegally,” stated Toups.

The poor quality of the fruits and vegetables given out had been discussed last year when many elderly and others complained to councilmen about receiving inedible food. Councilman Daniel Lorraine even brought to a council meeting a sample of some rotten and decayed mangos and lettuce that were given to him by a commodities recipient.

But commodities were not the issue Tuesday—Lasseigne’s role was.

Councilman Aaron Caillouet, who voted against creating the auditor position, voiced his concern that Lasseigne was not doing the job for which he was hired.

“In the past year, most of his work has not been auditing work, reviewing the books of boards and the administration. That has not been done. It seems like we have lost control of that,” he said.

Caillouet noted that he voted against hiring an auditor because “it seemed the council was looking to establish its own accounting department to do work for individual council members.”

He estimated that three quarters of Lasseigne’s time is spent on things other than auditing.

“Your purpose should be to make sure the books of the administration are done without any illegalities. Auditing should be 85% of your job, not the opposite,” said Caillouet.

Lorraine and others defended Lasseigne, saying he has helped when the administration would not.

“I am not a budget expert,” said Lorraine. “Tommy Lasseigne helped me out during budget time tremendously. Many times in the past we voted on things we are not sure of, but what we are told. At least we get a true answer from him—we don’t always get the truth from the administration.”

Jerry Lafont, also defending Lasseigne, said, “Everything he’s done for me has been a good job, but always through the Chair.”

Lasseigne noted that he only follows the chairman’s wishes.

“If the chairman asks me to report, I give a report. It goes through proper channels,” he said.

Chairman Toups, noticeably upset by the notion that he was not directing Lasseigne properly, halted discussion and quickly moved to other matters.