Beginning April 1, Louisiana sheriffs who want the state to kick in an extra $500 a month for their deputies will have to provide a full job description to show that those deputies primarily work in law enforcement or jail security.
That’s not a new rule, but Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office has submitted an old version of the form to the state. The one he’s been using doesn’t specify exactly how much time is spent on law enforcement.
And some of those deputies may not be eligible for the the supplement. Under state law, the extra pay cannot be provided to Sheriff’s Office employees whose responsibilities are primarily clerical or unrelated to law enforcement.
Former Orleans Parish deputy-turned-whistleblower Bryan Collins has alleged that as many as 51 Sheriff’s Office employees — representing more than $300,000 in annual supplemental pay — received the pay last year even though they weren’t eligible. Among the employees who appear to be ineligible, according to Collins: kitchen staff, maintenance staff and the sheriff’s chief procurement officer.
The current version of the form reads:
“Describe present duties as a full-time deputy sheriff (Show % of time for each duty)”
The Lens reviewed every supplemental pay application available for those Orleans Parish deputies and found that most of the forms didn’t include the part in parentheses. According to state Department of Treasury spokesman Jason Redmond, the Sheriff’s Office was using a version of the form from 2005.
Now the state has told Louisiana sheriffs they need to use the current version.
The Treasury Department this month informed every sheriff’s office in the state that in order to qualify for the Deputy Sheriff’s Supplemental Pay program, applications must include a breakdown of deputies’ job duties, with the percentage of time spent on each one.
“Some parishes are submitting older versions of the DSSP Employment Information form to our office,” First Assistant State Treasurer Ron J. Henson wrote.
Sheriffs must submit monthly reports showing which deputies are eligible for the supplement. “Your office will be contacted if older versions of the form are used” when submitting the April report” Henson wrote.
The Lens’ review also showed that the Sheriff’s Office often used boilerplate language to describe what the deputies do: “care, custody and control of inmates.” That’s true even when Gusman’s office used the correct version of the form.
The state hasn’t said whether that serves as an adequate job description.
In February, Collins asked the Office of State Inspector General and the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to investigate the supplemental pay program in Orleans Parish. State officials told The Lens they could not comment on requests for investigations.