Fenton Mayor addresses Legislative Audit concerns - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Fenton mayor addresses Legislative audit concerns

FENTON, LA (KPLC) -

A scathing audit advisory report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office accusing the Village of Fenton of wrongdoing has Mayor Eddie Alfred Jr. on the defense.

"Those are based on completely false accusations," said Alfred.

Auditors visited the Mayor's Office for two days back in December and issued an advisory based on their findings on Feb. 27.

Most notable, the report said a village-owned police car driven by Alfred had blue exterior lights and was not marked in accordance with state law.

State law outlines that, "All persons other than law enforcement officers on official duty are prohibited from equipping, operating, or using motor vehicles with blue colored electric lights thereon."

However, Alfred believes because he is a commissioned police officer and with the amount of hazardous materials rolling through the area - the lights were justified for emergencies.

"If I am out of town and there is a major accident or something here, I can get back here quicker," said Alfred.

Auditors also noted that the Charger did not have permanent markings of the name and/or insignia of the village. State law outlines that public vehicles driven by officials include official markings.

The lights have since been disconnected and are not operational.

Some of the other findings noted were inadequate documentation of fuel usage. The mayor said they not only have a fuel log for every piece of equipment - right down to the weed eater - but also have surveillance.

"All that and plus when you walk outside you will see the tank has a camera on it. So nobody can still gas from this town," said Alfred.

Also an area of concern was contract work for a heliport that was awarded to Alfred's uncle.

They spent $7,696 on the project. The village paid $5,279 to Melvin Alfred Sr. to do the work.

According to the mayor, three people bid on the project and although it wasn't on record, it was approved by the board.

"The council members did know and vote on the project," said Alfred. "It was discussed and verbally agreed upon, though no formal vote was taken or recorded."

As a response, the auditors suggested the village consult with its attorney before contracts are made. 

Addressing the audit advisory report head on, Alfred wants his constituents to know the concerns are being taken seriously by his office.

"I pour my heart into this community. In less than four years, when I took office, this town's general fund was only at $9,000. Now, we almost have $300,000. I dedicate most of my time to this town," said Alfred. "I just want people to have confidence in me in knowing that I am fighting to do what I am supposed to do for this town and I am not going to do anything to hurt this community."

Alfred said they have a plan for suggestions made by the auditors. Meanwhile, the auditors said they will monitor the village's resolution of the issues.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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