Audit: Possible misuse of public funds by Fire District 7

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The auditor for the Rapides Parish Police Jury said there may have been the misuse of public funds among other things by Fire Protection District 7.

In the audit conducted by Alexandria based company, Payne Moore, and Herrington, they looked into allegations of misuse of public funds during the period of 2014 to 2017.

The allegations include purchasing Christmas gifts for employees between 2014 to 2016 by the chief and payments to employees for time that wasn’t actually worked. The audit also found the personal use of publicly owned property and equipment including a generator, pressure washer; using the shop to work on personal vehicles; payment of tuition for a firefighter for a fire science course not necessary for his job; charging fuel for personal use and no restrictions on frequency of purchasing cell phones.

“Certain transactions initiated by the chief may not be in accordance with the provisions for use of tax revenues and may violate state laws and regulations,” the audit stated. “Improper expenditures and employee use of public assets may constitute misuse of public funds and assets.”

We reached out to Rapides Parish Police Jury Treasurer, Bruce Kelly, who said they will look at the issue during their August 13 meeting and will investigate the matter.

Fire Protection District 7 is directly governed by the board of directors of the Ruby Kolin Volunteer Fire Association. News Channel 5 reached out to Chief Mike Paulk, but he has not responded to our call as of yet.

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