Parish Cell Phone and Miscellaneous Expense Allowance Report

Parish Cell Phone and Miscellaneous Expense Allowance Report
(Source: JPOIG website)

The Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General (JPOIG) has completed an investigation of Parish Allowances, namely those for Cell Phones and Miscellaneous Expenses.

If the recommendations were followed the combined savings would amount to $9,816 per month, $117,800 per year, $353,400 over three years.

Results

Cell Phone: The Parish pays 135 employees a cell phone allowance that is approximately double the cost of obtaining the same services available under several national provider plans. Should the Parish utilize the suggested corrective action methodology, the Parish can save approximately $6,974.85 a month, $83,000 per year or $836,982.00 over the following 10 years.

Miscellaneous Allowances for elected Officials: The Parish currently pays a monthly miscellaneous expense allowance of $450.00 to the Parish President and $350.00 per month to each Council member, totaling $2,900 per month or $34,800 per year. The Parish has expended $512,000 to elected officials since 2001. The JPOIG recommends the Parish cease the practice of issuing the miscellaneous expense allowances to elected officials.

Findings

The report reached three findings. Three of the findings were directed to the Parish Council and one of the findings was directed to the Parish Administration. The findings and recommendations are summarized below:

Finding #1 (Parish Council) – Accepted in Part: The cell phone allowance is a practice without authorization.

Finding #2 (Parish Administration/Parish Council) – Accepted in Part: The Parish is expending more than $83,000 in unnecessary cost per annum under the current cell phone allowance program

Finding #3 (Parish Council) – Accepted in Part: The Parish issues miscellaneous expense allowances to elected officials without authorization.

Responses

The Parish Council passed Resolution Number 132564 on 11/7/2018, “requesting the Council’s Office of Research and Budget Analysis to work with the Administration to draft a plan for Council consideration to clarify, revise, and codify the Parish’s policies with regard to car, phone and other allowances for executive and elected officials of Jefferson Parish.” Chairwoman Lee-Sheng’s office sent an email to the JPOIG announcing the adoption of Council Resolution 132564. Additionally, Councilwoman Van Vrancken responded separately, stating that while she believes the miscellaneous expense allowance is in fact authorized via Resolution 2101, she voted in favor of Council Resolution 132564.

There was much better communication with the Administration during the draft period. While the discussion were promising the results to date are a Council Resolution requesting the Council Office of Research and Budget Analysis to work with the Administration to draft a plan for Council consideration. I remain hopeful that a Corrective Action Plan will be achieved in the near future.