The St. Tammany Parish district attorney’s office said in its civil lawsuit that the trio of culprits improperly reclassified themselves as civil service employees to become eligible for a more lucrative pension. Once the switch was made in December 1999, the three were then able to join the Firefighters’ Retirement System, which carries greater benefits than their previous retirement plan, according to a Times-Picayune report.
This reclassification ended up inflating their retirement accounts by nearly $150,000 the suit claims. The suit seeks reimbursement of $48,685 from each defendant for a total of $146,055.
District Attorney Walter Reed said the suit stems from an audit of the department, completed last fall that uncovered several financial irregularities. Among the other irregularities that were uncovered:
- Some “office staff employees” received overtime and merit pay despite the lack of a written policy for such payments.
- The district illegally provided health insurance to a retired fire chief.
- Mobile phones were improperly issued to two board members and the wife of one member.
- An administrative employee asked for and received an unauthorized $865 “pay adjustment,” which was later returned.