Louisiana News

Commission recommends former Assumption Parish sheriff to be next Louisiana legislative auditor

(The Center Square) – A legislative committee recommended Monday hiring former Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack to be the next Louisiana legislative auditor.

The full Louisiana Legislature will consider the recommendation during the regular session, which began Monday. If confirmed, he will replace Daryl Purpera, who announced in February he was stepping down March 2.

“I’m looking at this as a 10-year commitment,” Waguespack said during his public interview.

Waguespack is a certified public accountant who serves on the Louisiana Tax Commission. He served 16 years as Assumption Parish sheriff, stepping down in 2016 reportedly to take a private-sector job after losing his reelection bid but before his term had ended.

Waguespack is a co-founder of Assumption Mortgage Corporation and a CPA with Waguespack, Gallagher & Barbera, which provides accounting and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses in various industries, according to the Tax Commission’s website.

After graduating from LSU with an accounting degree, Waguespack said, he went to work for Pricewaterhouse Coopers. While with the large accounting firm, he performed his first governmental audit of the Louisiana state employees’ retirement system, better known as LASERS, he said.

Waguespack said his experience as a sheriff whose agency was subject to annual audits by the LLA helped him to understand the auditee’s point of view, which he said would help to “alleviate some of the tensions” with government agencies. He said helping to educate local officials about how to stay out of financial trouble is an important part of the job.

“There’s a lot of money coming down the pipe in the next three years,” Waguespack said, referring to the almost $2 billion in federal stimulus dollars local governments are expected to receive. “It may be incumbent upon all of us to really reach down to them and hold their hand through the process. It’s scary. It’s billions of dollars. We’ve got to make sure these guys don’t reset their budgets (based on temporary federal funding), including us.”

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