Monday, January 11, 2010

Reservoir Commission members not required to disclose personal finances : Ethics board

The Daily News - By Jacob Brooks - Published/Last Modified on Monday, January 11, 2010 9:21 AM

The Washington Parish Reservoir Commission members do not have to file annual personal financial disclosure statements, the Louisiana Ethics Board decided last month.

In a letter from the board to E.B. "Ted" Dittmer II, the board concluded that reservoir commission members are not subject to a state law that "requires financial disclosure for each member and designee of a board or commission which has the authority to expend, disburse or invest $10,000 or more of funds in a fiscal year."

While the commission has been allocated more than $3 million in state funds in the past, any expenses have to be approved at a higher level, according to wording in the letter to Dittmer.
"Prior to entering into contracts, the Commission must obtain permission from the Louisiana Department of Transportation to enter into the contract. Then, the Commission must submit another request for funds to pay for the contractual services. You (Dittmer) stated that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has the authority to deny the release of funds as requested by the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission," according to the letter.

Further, it read: "Although the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission was created by statute, based on the facts provided, it does not appear the Commission has the authority to expend $10,000 or more in funds. Therefore, the Commission members are not required to file annual personal financial disclosure statements."

Dittmer, the attorney for the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission, said he had filed a request seeking the Ethics Board’s opinion on the matter after being asked to do so by Commission President Huey Pierce.


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