- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BAKER, La. (AP) - Baker Mayor Harold Rideau has vowed he will not sign a contract with Postlethwaite & Netterville to audit the city’s books for the 2014-15 fiscal year for a maximum fee of $62,500, even though the city council authorized him to do so.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1nCYxZF ) Rideau told the council Tuesday night he had a verbal agreement with the firm to cap the fee at $55,000, which is what the city paid the firm last year.

The matter reaches back to last fiscal year, when the city was cited by the state Legislative Auditor’s Office for various procedural problems. CPA firm Faulk & Winkler helped the city correct some of those issues during the 2013-14 fiscal year and P&N; conducted the city’s audit for $55,000.

Rideau said he met with P&N; representatives earlier this month and the verbal agreement was made then about the $55,000 cap for the 2014-15 audit.

However, the contract P&N; presented to the council and the mayor at the Aug. 12 council meeting set the maximum fee at $85,000, an amount Rideau declared unacceptable.

The council met with the firm again and negotiated a cap of $62,500, an amount council member Joyce Burges said she thought Rideau would accept.

According to the city charter, the council can appoint an auditing firm, but only the mayor can sign a contract with the company.

Rideau said there is only $40,000 in the city’s budget to pay for the 2014-15 audit. The city court has $5,500 in its budget that can be tapped to help fund the audit.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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