Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Chance for Change at Caddo Parish Animal Services is Here

The advocates for the animals at Caddo Parish Animal Services may finally have some hope on the horizon.  If you haven't yet seen the Work Session agenda for October 16, take a look at item 8.III, the second PDF file which is entitled "Proposed Internal Audit Process."

This might be very, very good news.

As you recall, Commissioner Matthew Linn has a proposal on the table to amend the Home Rule Charter to allow for an outside audit of departmental procedures in Caddo Parish government.  This was a subject of some hot debate in the October 2 work session and on which I reported here.  The proposal, if the Commission allowed, would have to come before the voters of Caddo Parish and of course this would be costly and time consuming.

Now there appears to be a compromise on the table.

You can read the entire PDF of the new proposal by Mr. Wilson, but I'll excerpt some points here.

Wilson already has the authority, and duty, to establish a system for internal audit of the affairs of the parish. It appears now that the commissioners will have more input into which departments get audited and when.  The audit plan will now come before the Caddo Commission "for review and approval."  And "any changes made in the audit plan would require the approval of the Commission."

So, to me, that sounds like a little transparency and oversight.

I know, we don't trust the Commission, but let's stay with this for a minute.

This is the part I like:

A third-party contractor from the approved list from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.  

This is good.

Then this:

"The selected audit firm shall be independent of all the programs, functions, operations, and activities that will be audited, to ensure the impartiality and credibility of the audit work undertaken."
Even better! 

And first on the audit list?

That's right, Caddo Parish Animal Services.

The audit findings will be presented to the Parish Administrator and CEO, and the Commission and that should also me us, the public.

We need that transparency.

Go read the whole proposal for yourself.  I don't speak legalese and we need as many sharp eyes on this process as possible.

This proposal must go through.  It will save taxpayers the cost of an election and it will save much time for the animals that are at CPAS.  The original proposal to amend the charter and to force this audit issue will take at least two years to get into place; this offers a compromise by Wilson and a move in the right direction.

We will still need an effective leader at CPAS.

If you can, go to the meeting Monday at Government Plaza.   Let them know you are watching.

Doug Dominick: District 1
Lyndon B. Johnson: District 2
Steven Jackson: District 3
Matthew Linn: District 4
Jerald Bowman: District 5
Lynn Cawthorne: District 6
Stormy Gage-Watts: District 7
Mike Middleton: District 8
John Atkins: District 9
Mario Chavez: District 10
Jim Smith: District 11
Louis Johnson: District 12

Further Reading:
SIGIS: Caddo Commissioner: Give Transparency a Chance
The Shreveport Times: Caddo Commission Mulls Over Adding Independent Auditor
The Shreveport Times:  Out of Control Animal Shelter
Association of Local Government Auditors
SIGIS:  Problems at Caddo Animal Shelter Continue

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