Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl G. Purpera said Tuesday that his office has begun an audit into Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter’s administration.
Purpera said the audit is a response to allegations from council members and media coverage of Slaughter’s administration and that his investigators are specifically looking for instances of fraud and abuse.
Port Allen Chief Administrative Officer Adrian Genre confirmed Tuesday that three investigators were at City Hall Monday.
Genre said the investigators also plan to speak with city council members.
“We will absolutely reach out to the council members,” Purpera said.
At the last regular council meeting, Councilman Hugh Riviere offered a resolution to request that the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and 18th Judicial District Attorney Ricky Ward launch an investigation into Slaughter’s administration.
The resolution alleged Slaughter increased her salary by $20,000 without council approval, traveled to the Presidential inauguration on taxpayer dollars “without benefit to the City of Port Allen,” and hired a Chief of Staff, “an unauthorized and unpaid position” with “unrestricted access to private and confidential customer and employee information.”
Slaughter has said she did not increase her salary. In June 2012, then-mayor Roger Bergeron suggested lowering the mayor’s salary from about $85,000 to $65,000 annually, effective Jan. 1. The council did not vote on the item and CFO Audrey McCain said, at that time, that the council still had time before Jan. 1 to decide on the issue.
Slaughter has also said she was invited to the Presidential inauguration by a member of Congress to represent the city. She confirms that the Chief of Staff is working without a salary and has access to all necessary information.
Slaughter said she followed all requirements of presenting the position to the council, but that, “This position is not a department head and does not require the approval of the Council.”
Riviere’s resolution passed 3 to 2 at the last city council meeting, with Council Members Brandon Brown and Ray Helen Lawrence in opposition.
When the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office completes their investigation, Purpera said they will write a written report, request a response from management, and upon receiving that response will issue a public report.
He said the completion date for the investigation is uncertain.