The 26th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has had no findings in its audits for the last two years.
Angela Lawrence, CPA, district attorney’s office financial officer attributes this to the close working relationship among District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin, the financial officer and the treasurers of the Bossier and Webster Parish police juries.
“This can be attributed to the district attorney and his staff working closely with each parish police jury and parish treasurers to make sure the offices have open and transparent communications regarding financial matters,” she said, “and everyone understands what the district attorney’s office needs to operate efficiently for the citizens of both parishes. All parties involved are engaged with the ultimate goal of spending taxpayer dollars in the most prudent way.”
The total general and program revenues for the year ending 2015 is $2,601,964, according to the audit report.
The general fund accounts for the operations of the DA’s office. Revenues are collected through fines collected and bonds forfeited, a certain percentage of asset forfeiture, reimbursements from the Louisiana Department of Social Services for family and child support programs, worthless check collection fees and other financial resources.
“We pay the employees out of that money,” Lawrence said. “The state sets a set number of assistant district attorney’s and Marvin supplements their funds out of that. It also supports those contracts with the Department of Social Services, the worthless check collection fees and others.”
Total expenses based on the report were about $2,789,793 for 2015. Roughly 83 percent of the total expenses are employee salaries and benefits, she said.
The audit is based on the district attorney’s office as a whole and does not include parish contributions, according to the report. The parishes supplement the district attorney’s office through their criminal court funds.
Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson says the district attorney’s office is a constitutionally elected office, which means he and his assistants are paid by the state.
“The parishes are required to pay a supplement to the DA and his assistants, by statute, and then to provide the district attorney secretaries, office space and furniture,” Jackson said. “When parishes were first constituted, there wasn’t a huge network of roads, bridges and drainage that sapped their funds. Their primary responsibility was to operate the courthouse and provide a functioning criminal justice system.”
The Bossier Parish Police Jury acts as the fiscal agent for the district attorney’s office, he added.
Officials with the Webster Parish Police Jury say each year, roughly $500,000 is earmarked from the police jury’s general fund to pay a portion of Marvin’s salary, plus the salaries of all the DA’s employees in Webster Parish.
According to Webster Parish records, about $400,000 goes towards secretaries’ salaries, $5,400 for Medicare, $35,000 for retirement, $180,000 for group insurance, $2,500 for workers compensation and $2,000 for FICA.
Marvin’s total salary is about $135,000. The district attorney’s office pays about $51,000; BPPJ pays about $3,600; WPPJ pays roughly $30,000 and the state pays about $50,000.
Bossier Parish pays $253.76 for retirement and $52.52 for Medicare. The state funds about $2,625.09 for retirement and $3,600 from the DA’s general fund.
Bossier Parish earmarks about $707,000 for salaries, Lawrence said.
Lawrence says these amounts paid by each entity are determined by the parish treasurer and the district attorney’s financial officer during the budgeting process each year.