A state agency Thursday stripped control over two Homeland Security grant programs from Mayor-President Kip Holden’s office and designated the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Ascension Parish Office of Emergency Management as the new grant managers.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said in a news release that it took the action because the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness was “refusing to follow state and federal guidelines in order to be reimbursed for money spent.”
The action means that “funding in the amount of $4,033,034 from two federal homeland security grant programs will be redirected to the new parish grant managers,” according to the GOHSEP release.
Holden’s chief administrative officer, John Carpenter, did not respond to emailed and telephoned requests for comment immediately after the announcement. Holden has contended that GOHSEP lacks legal authority to impose a requirement that the parish sheriff review and sign off on the federal grants.
GOHSEP Interim Director Pat Santos said every other parish in Louisiana has complied with the federal and state guidelines.
“GOHSEP’s actions are consistent with federal rules and this move protects the state from risking a federal audit finding concerning the program,” he said.
GOHSEP citied several deficiencies in the applications from the city-parish homeland security agency and placed it on probation for two years before it can reapply for federal grants.