No charges in Ferriday audit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 1999

VIDALIA, La. – Criminal charges will not be filed against Ferriday officials in connection with a recent state auditor’s report, an official with the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

&uot;I don’t see where there is evidence to base criminal charges on,&uot;&160;said District Director Paul Scott. &uot;It looks like the only thing (town officials) did was not follow government standards for record keeping.&uot;

The report of a review – not an investigation – Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle’s office made of the Town of Ferriday was released Aug. 9. It revealed, among other things, lax efforts to track traffic tickets and collect water bills, conflicting accounting figures and incomplete personnel files and time cards.

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Mayor Odeal Montgomery had no comment when contacted Tuesday. In the Ferriday Town Council’s Aug. 10 meeting, Montgomery said most of the report’s findings dealt with &uot;problems with procedure.&uot;

And in letters to Kyle, Montgomery and Police Chief Eddie Newman listed 20 steps the town will take to address the report’s findings.

Kyle sent the report to the D.A.’s office, which would be the one to file criminal charges. Scott, District Attorney John Johnson and investigators reviewed the report after receiving it Aug. 10, Scott said. Kyle said he will review the town’s financial report for the 1998-99 fiscal year to determine whether the problems cited in his office’s report have been corrected.

The fiscal year ended June 30, and the Legislative Auditor’s Office must receive a copy of the town’s financial report by Dec. 31. If problems have not been corrected, Kyle will decide whether to forward his findings to the Legislative Auditor’s Advisory Council, a panel of nine state legislators which has the power to give offenders fines and jail time.