Audit: Oakdale’s city’s pay supplement may have been illegal

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OAKDALE, La. (AP) — A southwestern Louisiana city may have run afoul of the state’s constitution when it gave its workers a one-time pay supplement that cost nearly $41,000, according to an independent financial audit.

The city of Oakdale could have violated a Louisiana Constitution provision governing how public funds can be spent, accountant Royce Scimemi found.

The American Press reports about 60 workers received the one-time pay supplement, which was approved by the city council and mayor in November 2018. No elected officials got the bonuses.

Mayor Gene Paul and City Clerk Lisa Schaefer said they’ve requested a legal opinion from the attorney general’s office to determine whether the adjustments were allowed — and to prevent any future potential violations.

Schaefer said the city’s attorney believed the spending was allowed.

“We know we can’t give bonuses, and that was not our intentions,” Schaefer said. “We wanted to be able to reward them for good performance while living within the budget. Our attorney came back to us and said, ‘Yes, we can do this as a one-time adjustment for future services in order to meet the criteria of the Constitution.’”

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