According to a new report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office (LAO), state boards and commissions combined planned to spend roughly $5.4 million on salaries, per diems, and travel expenses last fiscal year.
Ending June 30, boards budgeted approximately $2 million for salaries, $1.3 million for per diems and $2.1 million for travel expenses. They have until May 1, 2020 to report actual expenses.
Seven boards did not respond to the Auditor’s request for information, the LAO report states, including two that did not respond last year: the Board of Louisiana River Pilot Review and Oversight and the Vermilion and Iberia Railroad Development District Board of Commissioners.
There are 472 boards listed in the report.
“The Legislature may wish to consider taking some action against Boards that fail to comply with the reporting requirements in state law,” the LAO says.
The five board members of the Public Service Commission– who are elected– have the highest total salaries at nearly $334,000. Next highest are the Board of Pardons members, whose salaries total $317,000, and the Tax Commission’s, at almost $301,000.
The highest per diem budget reported was that of the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission of $108,000, followed by the Employment Security Board of Review ($97,920) and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission ($97,200).
The largest travel budget reported was the Board of Pharmacy’s of $77,000, followed by the Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board ($72,200) and the Southern University Board of Supervisors ($65,000).
According to the LAO, 17 boards and commissions either never fully organized, were disbanded with no plans to reorganize, were inactive, or had no funding to perform their stated functions. Of them, seven were inactive the prior year.
“Because these entities are not fulfilling their established functions, the Legislature should consider abolishing them,” the LAO recommends.
The legislature abolished six inactive boards during this year’s session.