Legislative Auditor says Town of Jonesboro is “at risk” for fraud

The Town of Jonesboro was found to have repeatedly ignored recommended accounting procedures, according to an audit released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor this week. The CPA firm Bosch & Statham conducted the audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. Auditors found material weaknesses dating back to 2015 that had not been rectified.

The audit report covers six months of former Mayor James Bradford’s administration and six months of current Mayor Leslie Thompson’s administration, which prevented the auditor from issuing an official opinion on the state of the town’s finances. 

“First since the fiscal year encompasses two administrations, we would not expect to receive the current mayor’s signature  on the management representation letter that is required for us to be able to issue unmodified opinions,” the audit read. “Secondly, due to the nature of the findings, in our professional judgement, we cannot accept management’s representation letter.”

The report cited 17 findings, all of which were repeated including:

  1. Failure to properly maintain cash receipt books.
  2. Failure to comply with Public Bid Law and the Local Government Budget Act.
  3. Failure to publish minutes for Board of Aldermen meetings.
  4. Lack of Internal control over purchasing.
  5. Weaknesses in utility billing procedures and employee timekeeping  procedures.

In the towns response letter , signed by Town Clerk Amanda Womack, the town said it plans to change its procedures, including keeping logs of which receipt books are issued to whom. It also indicated that part of the problem with utility billing has to do with outdated infrastructure.

“The council has refused to recognize the critical need to install new meters to facilitate the reading of meters for the town, therefore we are still charging flat rates for utilities in the Town of Jonesboro,” the letter read. “Until the town is authorized to acquire new water meters there is no foreseeable method to real all customer meters in the town. Many of the meters are unreadable and a large number of them have not been able to be located.”

In response to the report that surfaced in many major news sources across the state,  including the NewsStar newspaper out of Monroe, LA on Thursday, June 10th, Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson had the following to say:

“There is nothing I can do about what took place before I took office,” said Thompson. “Since our administration has been in place we have been working closely with the Legislative Auditor’s office and have been taken off the ‘non compliance’ list. This has allowed us to move forward in securing needed grants to help with our infrastructure. We will continue to work toward correcting everything that needs to be done in order to stay in compliance.”

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One thought on “Legislative Auditor says Town of Jonesboro is “at risk” for fraud

  1. While I understand you are publishing a direct quote, it is NOT the council who repeatedly refuses to look at the meter replacement. The council continues to push the issue and is trying to get new meters approved. It is the mayor who continuously refuses, including when the state offered financial assistance on the replacement of the outdated meters.

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