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Payroll issues persist at Office of Juvenile Justice, audit finds

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Payroll issues persist at Office of Juvenile Justice, audit finds

Oct 26, 2022 | 7:36 pm ET
By Louisiana Illuminator
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Payroll issues persist at Office of Juvenile Justice, audit finds
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The Bridge City Center for Youth in Jefferson Parish. (Photo by Greg LaRose/Illuminator)

The agency in charge of Louisiana’s juvenile detention centers continues to have issues with keeping accurate time and attendance records, according to a Legislative Auditor’s report issued Wednesday.

In what was noted as the third consecutive review, the audit found the state Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) “did not maintain adequate internal controls over time and attendance to ensure that accurate data was entered and processed into the payroll system.”

The audit involved a review of 30 time and attendance records sampled from January 2020 through July 2022. The following discrepancies were found in six records:

  • Records for three employees did not mesh with an auditor’s calculations for time off, shift changes and overtime earned.
  • One employee was paid for eight hours of work instead of eight hours of sick leave.
  • Three employees, which include some mentioned above, did not have required signatures on 10 leave slips, one timesheet and one overtime form. 

The audit attributed the errors to supervisors missing mistakes and administrators who failed to verify information on payroll records.

In its response to the audit, the Office of Juvenile Justice concurred with its findings. 

“The agency has experienced turnover in positions associated with Timekeeping as well as the supervisory ranks over the last two years,” OJJ Undersecretary Gearry Williams wrote in his response. “We will continue to work with the leadership teams, at all of our sites, to provide training related to time and attendance.”    

In the same review, auditors noted improvement in other areas from the state Office of Juvenile Justice. Specifically, they reported effective controls over the agency’s purchasing cards for office supplies and administrative expenses, travel spending, medical services contracts and placement services such as meals, counseling and educational programs.