Ferriday must clean up the mess

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good auditors are worth their weight in gold, especially when taxpayer funds are on the line.

The recent audit of the Town of Ferriday shows just how out of hand things had become under the previous administration.

Findings in the audit ran the gamut, from frustrating and outlandish to troubling and downright worrisome.

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Auditors suggested the town attempt to collect the funds paid to then lame duck Mayor Gene Allen as he attended a beauty pageant in Las Vegas.

That seems like the least he could do.

Further, auditors claim that vacation pay given to Allen at the end of his term was not lawfully provided, either.

Both of those are problems, but the biggest problems stem from gross mismanagement — and likely direct theft — with the town’s utility system.

From an alleged check substitution scheme to the ongoing saga of non-functioning water meters, money appears to have been leaked at best, stolen at worst.

Although the check scheme issue has been corrected going forward and the person at the center of the case appears to no longer be working for the city, that person or persons need to be prosecuted if they did, in fact, steal funds.

The water meters allegedly will be replaced soon so that the town can begin accurately charging customers for water.

Wise use of taxpayer money might be to pay the auditors to review any and all changes as quickly as they’re done, rather than waiting until time for the annual audit.

The money saved — if one of the “fixes” isn’t correct — could more than pay for the costs.