Legislative Auditor blasts RSD over missing assets

Legislative auditor blasts the Recovery School District
Published: Dec. 23, 2015 at 9:23 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 24, 2015 at 1:18 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana legislative auditor is out with a scathing report that outlines millions of dollars in missing property at the Recovery School District.

The auditor hopes that in a state dealing with a huge deficit, the new governor will make agencies more accountable for property loss.

"This is ridiculous," said Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.

The audit shows that for the past four years, the RSD is missing $7 million worth of property.

"This is all sorts of things," said Purpera. "Any type of movable property, computers, desks, white boards - all sorts of different things."

The problem is not new.

"This particular finding says for the ninth consecutive year we've been reporting this, and there's a real question about management and its ability to properly account and be transparent with the funds they're using," said Purpera.

The auditor  also cites the RSD for failing to properly document employee termination dates, for 96 employees, resulting in $5,000 in overpayments.

"They try and recover, but when you pay somebody, and they spend it, it's hard to get money after they spend it," said Purpera.

Legislation aimed at giving the legislative auditor more enforcement power has gone nowhere, but the auditor hopes for change in the year ahead.

"Hopefully the new administration will take this seriously, and I will be communicating with the governor-elect on these issues," said Purpera.

The RSD response to the audit said improvements are being made, and while it acknowledges that problems still exist, the RSD said it has hired two extra managers to help properly document RSD property.

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard said they have located property worth $2.1 million. He also said the overwhelming majority of missing assets, over $5 million, are IT systems that were purchased prior to 2010, and are beyond their useful life.

As for problems regarding payroll terminations.  Dobard said the human resources functions of the RSD were tranferred to the Department of Education's human resources office, and that controls over payroll were strengthened and enhanced.

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