Council on Aging gives vague response to demand for an inquiry after WBRZ reports
BATON ROUGE – The board of directors of the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging promises stricter oversight following numerous reports by the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit.
WBRZ was first to report issues at the Council on Aging surrounding a deceased woman naming Council on Aging employees in her will. The woman was a client of the city's elderly agency. Following reports by the Investigative Unit, the Louisiana Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs asked the council's governing body to investigate and report if there were conflicts of interest or unethical behavior.
The report was due to the state agency by Monday. Through a public records request, WBRZ learned Tuesday the EBR Council on Aging Board of Directors responded in a vague letter from the board's chairman, Brandon Dumas.
The response avoided questions posed by the Office of Elderly affairs last week. But, Dumas said the board will review its policies and procedures and revisions could be made to “improve our operational efficiency and to ensure full compliance.” Dumas said such action is not complete, and its decisions will be sent to the elderly affairs office once decisions are finalized.
The Office of Elderly Affairs originally asked for a plan of action by Monday, April 17.
The Office of Elderly Affairs also asked the board to look into if any other Council on Aging employees were involved in similar situations – being named executor or beneficiary of a will for someone they're not related to similar to how the Council on Aging's executive director was involved in the will of Helen Plummer. About that request, the Council on Aging said it's doing an internal query via email of employees to find any such issues.
Finally, the state questioned why Plummer's will was handled by a Council on Aging partner and not Southeast Legal Services. Dumas said the council's agreement with its partner – Southern University’s Elder Law Clinic – was more accommodating to the needs of most elderly clients than those of Southeast Legal Services and it was easier for Plummer to seek guidance from SU's program than the other.
Council on Aging employees associated with Plummer's will have removed themselves from the estate after their participation in the will came under fire.
Click HERE to read the entire letter.
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