An LSU School of Veterinary Medicine building

An LSU School of Veterinary Medicine building

A member of the faculty for the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine knowingly accepted over $400,000 in salary and benefits without doing the work over 38 months, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said Monday.

Management of the school also failed to take sufficient action to address the lack of work, Purpera said.

School leaders did not dispute the gist of the report.

"We agree with the finding that the faculty member knowingly failed to perform his duties for LSU for a significant period of time," Joel D. Baines, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, said in a written response.

The faculty member is not identified in the state review.

Individuals are not typically identified in financial reports because the aim is to highlight the problem, according to an official in Purpera's office.

The comments were part of a 30-page report on LSU and its related campuses.

Purpera's report said that, in a review done by the LSU Office of Internal Audit, the faculty member acknowledged that he did not deserve to be paid for a period roughly from July, 2016 through August, 2018.

"When asked to provide documentation to demonstrate fulfilling his duties to LSU since he submitted the last grant proposal in February, 2015 the faculty member was unable to provide any documentation," according to Purpera's report.

In addition, LSU's Internal Office said the faculty member got an "unsatisfactory" rating in annual performance reviews for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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It said his work fell off after he was denied a promotion in 2014.

He was directed to appear at the school for the fall, 2018 semester and perform his duties but had not done so as of Sept. 29 of last year.

The faculty member was still employed by LSU as of Jan. 24 of this year.

In his response letter, Baines said the school has taken several corrective steps.

The faculty member's supervisor was removed as the chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences and LSU has initiated unspecified disciplinary action.

"LSU will investigate any avenues for recovery of amounts improperly received by the faculty member," Baines said in his response.

"Actually calculating the duration of the improper conduct is complicated by the faculty member's status as research-only faculty," he wrote.

"While it is clear that the faculty member received pay despite the fact he was not working, it cannot be ascertained easily whether the faculty member was working from home except from his own reporting."

In a statement, LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said "these actions do not represent our mission and values."

"These findings show poor management and an egregious abuse of the public that citizens place in us," Ballard said.

"We do not take this lightly, and citizens can be assured that LSU is taking swift action while adhering to due process. The School of Veterinary Medicine has inserted safeguards to ensure nothing like this will occur again," he said.


Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.