Highly-paid LSU employees defy state law, audit finds

Highly-paid LSU employees defy state law, audit finds
Aerial shot of the LSU campus

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An LSU internal audit has revealed that four highly-compensated university employees have failed to comply with a Louisiana law tied to their employment with the state.

Louisiana law requires that any state employee earning over $100,000 per year must obtain a Louisiana driver’s license and register any vehicles in their name in Louisiana.

Despite all four employees having worked at LSU for more than a full year now, they still do not consider themselves to be Louisiana residents and none has obtained a Louisiana license or registered their vehicle with the state.

The employees each claim that complying with Louisiana law would put them in a legal bind with the state of Illinois where they are still legal residents and where their primary homes are still located.

Their claims are outlined in a confidential LSU internal audit obtained by WAFB-TV.

The highest-paid of the four, LSU Chief Technology Officer Andrea Ballinger, makes $268,000 a year working at LSU, the audit says. Ballinger was given a $20,000 relocation stipend to assist with her move to Baton Rouge. Ballinger was hired from Illinois State University in 2017 where she was making $193,424 per year. Ballinger was recruited to Baton Rouge by her former colleague, LSU V.P. of Finance Dan Layzell.

Layzell is the former V.P. for Finance and Planning for Illinois State University who came to LSU in 2014.

The four employees say, when they accepted the jobs at LSU, they were unaware of the law requiring them to obtain a Louisiana driver’s license and to register their vehicles in Louisiana. Each indicated they would have declined the LSU job offer if they were aware of that requirement, the audit says.

LSU responded to the February 6, 2019 audit by saying each of the four employees would be told they had to comply with the Louisiana law in order to continue their employment with LSU.

LSU management set March 8, 2019 as a “tentative target date” for the employees to comply. An LSU spokesperson did not reply to a WAFB email Monday asking if any of the four employees had yet complied.

The law, passed in 2013, was proposed by Governor John Bel Edwards who was a state representative at the time.

“Certainly, the Governor expects that LSU employees would comply with the law,” Edwards’ spokesperson Christina Stephens said Monday.

The other three LSU employees include Matthew Helm who makes $202,085 per year, Susan Flanagin who makes $149,000 per year and Thomas Glenn who makes $144,200 per year at LSU. Helm was given a $15,000 relocation stipend by LSU and Flanagin was given a $5,000 relocation stipend, the audit says. Glenn did not receive a relocation stipend.

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