MC.

Director of the Emergency Operations Center in Marion County, Charlie Conerly said farewell and retired Wednesday. Conerly became the EOC Director in April 1986, and after dedicating more than 26 years of his life to the community he decided to hand over his position. My health is not getting any better, said Conerly “I’m saying good-bye, time to hang it up,

I’m turning it over to a younger guy that can get in and out of a computer, and I’m going to be around to help him.” Conerly’s farewell reception at the Columbia Justice Court was preceded by the swearing-in of the new EOC Directorfor Marion County, Aaron Greer.

“Charlie’s done a very good job in the
position that he’s been for twenty-six and a half years,” said Greer. “I hope
I’m as good as he is.” Conerly says he came in on April Fools
Day and is going out on Halloween Day.

7-22-2008-104538-pm     Map    Map

Present day Bogalusa, Louisiana

  Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal has been in office only about four months, and he said now he and his staff are trying to climb out of a $2.6 million hole. Basically, the office is bankrupt. Seal wasted no time after he took office bringing in a team of auditors and accountants to find out where the department’s money is now and how it was spent when outgoing Sheriff Robert Crowe held office.

“I’ve seen bad accounting. I’ve seen worse accounting, and now I’ve seen the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office accounting,” said local CPA Michael Burris. “This might be the worst experience of my career.” Some things grabbed the auditors’ attention right off the bat, like so called “mail box deputies.”

“Mail box deputies is where you go every month and get your check out of the mail box, and you do nothing,” Seal said. “We have found some of that.” The sheriff said his office was forced to borrow a little over a million dollars coming in just to make payroll and operate the department. Even the legislative auditor has been in to do its own audit, Seal said. And right now the sheriff isn’t ruling out possible criminal wrongdoing.

“We feel that, like at least some of this might be malfeasance, just not taking care of his business,” Seal said. Crowe, reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, said his office did the best it could with what it had. “As the money dwindled, we had to make cuts. We worked closely with our own auditors. I was told we did a very good job,” he said.

But the new sheriff and the auditors agree, it could take two years to get the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Offices financial house in order. Calls to the former sheriff’s audit firm were not returned as of press-time.

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