Former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan has served about six months of his combined 3-year state and federal prison sentences, but the echoes of his turbulent last year in office continue to reverberate in St. Tammany Parish.
One of those echoes — an enhanced audit to be required of every parish agency on randomly selected items each year — is inching closer to reality, according to Rick Danielson, a Mandeville City Council member.
By next June, the state Legislative Auditor’s Office will put a more rigorous audit process in place for public agencies in St. Tammany Parish — the end result of a lengthy exploration of whether to create an Inspector General’s Office on the north shore.
The 24-member panel charged with studying that question included representatives from every governmental body that would have fallen under an IG’s scrutiny. After seven months, the panel ended up recommending against an IG’s Office.
It settled on a more modest step of requiring agencies and government entities to submit to a stricter audit on particular items. That recommendation was forwarded to the Legislature, which this year passed a bill requiring the audits.
Danielson, who chaired the panel that studied whether an inspector general for the parish was feasible, said he and other members of the task force met with Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera and some of his deputies to discuss the plans for the enhanced audits.
Danielson said Purpera told him the plan should be released in January and in effect by June 30.
The legislative auditor is working to develop efficient policies on the audits to minimize the cost to the affected agencies in time and money, Danielson said. Training sessions for the new audits will begin in January with representatives from the various agencies.
The new audits will look at things not normally covered in the regular annual audits submitted to the Legislative Auditor’s Office, such as use of credit cards, vehicles, computers and other items, Danielson said. The audits also could take a look at the internal controls various agencies have over their finances, he said.
However, these will not be full forensic audits, which are ordered when a problem has been identified, Danielson said. Rather, he said, the enhanced audits are a proactive step that was easier to enact than establishing an Inspector General’s Office, which would have required an amendment to either the state constitution or the parish’s home rule charter.
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