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Officials feud over transfer of Terrebonne Parish money

1 month 1 day 5 hours ago Tuesday, December 22 2020 Dec 22, 2020 December 22, 2020 6:14 AM December 22, 2020 in News
Source: Associated Press
Terrebonne Parish Council Offices on Main Street in Houma, Louisiana.

HOUMA, La. (AP) — One local government leader in Louisiana is accusing another of harassing a government employee over the transfer of some public money.

Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove claimed council member Gerald Michel has been harassing Chief Finance Officer Kandace Mauldin for roughly two years about a $3.1 million money transfer that occurred in 2017. The parish government moved money from the utilities fund to the general fund. It then moved that money to the group insurance fund, Houma Today reported.

Dove said the parish’s Human Resources Department is investigating Michel’s actions.

“He has repeatedly, for two years, harassed, intimidated and questioned the integrity of my CFO, which is the council’s CFO,” Dove said.

In a Budget Finance Committee meeting Dec. 7, Michel said his issue was not the transfer itself, but that the Parish Council was not told how the money was going to be used, and that it needed to be paid back to the utilities fund.

Dove said the transfer was approved by both Parish Auditor Bourgeois Bennett and state Legislative Auditor Bradley Cryer. Dove provided copies of emails from Cryer in which he expressed the approval of the transfer. Dove contends Michel’s continuing to raise the issue with Mauldin constitutes harassment.

“We have consulted a labor lawyer and it’s just gone far enough,” Dove said. “Six or seven times you got a guy saying you’ve illegally moved money. What’s the public going to think?”

Michel said he will continue to pursue the issue.

“They took $3.1 million away from utilities and used it for parishwide excesses,” said Michel. “That is not legal, I don’t care what the legislative auditor says. It’s not legal according to our Home Rule Charter.”

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