Last year, the parish town’s parks and recreation system had more than $ 7,500 of lawn equipment stolen from its maintenance shop, a manager claims to have worked more than 80 hours and a part of its accounting does not comply with state budget law, an audit found.
The findings of the system’s annual audit report, released Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, ultimately did not result in any major violations against the parks system.
Overall, the Postlethwaite and Netterville auditors issued an “unmodified opinion” on assets over $ 300 million under the BREC umbrella. Essentially, this means that the parks system’s financial reports in 2020 were in line with state accounting standards.
“The BREC management team takes seriously its responsibility to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson said in a prepared statement on the audit.
The audit found that BREC had failed to properly reconcile its cash accounts and had failed to comply with the law on the state’s local government budget. Wilson blamed the new financial software the system put in place last year and the problems caused by employees working from home due to COVID.
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“As with the rest of the world, BREC staff had to learn to do all of their day-to-day work remotely as much as possible, in addition to working on this major software implementation amid all the uncertainties caused by the global pandemic.” Wilson said. “The new software went live in early 2021, but we continue to work on fully implementing all system functionality and defining, refining and streamlining processes and improving internal controls as needed. “
The auditors criticized BREC for not controlling the balances between its ledger and those presented in the monthly bank statements for a “significant part” of the year. He also criticized the Commission for failing to adopt a revised budget after year-round income adjustments changed by more than the 5% allowed by state law.
BREC made the income transfers because the coffers of the system were affected by the pandemic.
In its response to this finding, BREC promised to include quarterly reviews of its financial statements to the Commission to ensure that it does not fall into non-compliance again.
Auditors discovered that a golf course manager lied and said he worked 86.75 hours between March 2, 2020 and April 2, 2020. According to the audit, the employee resigned and BREC recovered the money that had been paid to him on his last paycheck.
No formal charges have ever been laid.
Auditors said the parks system did not have a documented policy regarding timing and supervisors had excessive managerial access to the electronic timing system.
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In its response, BREC officials said a new timing system had been installed, allowing for greater “transparency” and greater oversight before issuing paychecks.
On August 25, 2020, surveillance cameras captured at least two people breaking into BREC’s maintenance shop at the Baton Rouge Zoo to steal 25 different pieces of lawn equipment totaling $ 7,589, according to the audit. .
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office has investigated, but no charges have been filed and the identity of the thieves is still unknown.
Following the incident, BREC agreed to install an alarm system on the building and negotiated a new contract with a barrier access company to better protect the zoo entrances.