Independent audit on police jury’s finances conducted

By Jim Wilkerson

The independent auditor’s report on the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s finances was recently made public and can be read here. Certified Public Accountant William R. Hulsey conducted the audit and submitted it to the Police Jury Sep. 27, 2021.

Parish Administrator Doug Postel commented on the audit: “The audit findings were all directly related to key staffing issues within the finance department. Those issues have been resolved with staff changes and we foresee no problems moving forward.”

Seven major findings conclude the 79-page audit.

First, Hulsey found that as of Dec. 31, 2020, the Police Jury’s bank statements had not been reconciled since March 2020. This includes the “main operating account which is the pooled cash account for several of the Police Jury’s major funds.”

The potential effects that could result from failing to reconcile bank statements are 1) incomplete financial information and 2) irregularities that may not be detected in a timely manner.

Second, biweekly payroll transfers were not reconciled, nor were payroll transfers recorded, since May 2020.

“Both of these conditions resulted in incomplete and inaccurate financial information to be provided to management and the Police Jurors,” Hulsey wrote.

Third, the prior year’s audit adjustments had not been recorded. According to Hulsey, this meant that “the balance sheet accounts adjusted in the audit are not correct going into the next year. This resulted in inaccurate information being provided to be able to make accurate financial decisions, i.e. budgeting.”

Fourth, the Police Jury waited to deposit numerous cash and checks until several weeks after receipt of said monies. Also, multiple deposits were made with no backup or receipt, and cash was deposited without evidence of a count sheet.

Hulsey wrote: “By not making timely deposits, some deposits, especially cash, could be lost due to intentional or unintentional irregularities. By not using cash count sheets, incorrect deposits could be made intentionally or unintentionally.”

Fifth, the Treasurer’s office purchased office supplies and small office equipment, bypassing the Purchasing Department’s procedures. Several items were shipped to the incorrect address, and new office furniture was purchased without getting the approval from the Purchasing Director.

Sixth, sales taxes collected on the revenue from RV spots had not been submitted nor had the sales tax reports been prepared since October 2020. Hulsey explained that, by failing to do these two things, “The Police Jury is in violation of local sales tax ordinances and could be subject to penalties.”

Lastly, Hulsey found, “Funding from Rural Development for construction of the Detention Center Dormitory was delayed due to the annual certification process through the System of Awards Management not being performed.” This endangered the project from being completed and put the Police Jury out of compliance with Rural Development policies and procedures.

The Journal has reached out to Hulsey for comment, but he is currently unavailable.

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