Higher salary package set for new Louisiana legislative auditor

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) – Louisiana’s new legislative auditor, whose office examines the financial books of state and local government agencies, receives a higher salary than his predecessor, under a salary deal negotiated with legislators behind closed doors.

The Legislative Audit Advisory Board set a salary of $ 195,000 for Mike Waguespack, a former sheriff of Assumption Parish who was elected by lawmakers to the post in April. He will also receive an annual housing allowance of $ 22,800 and an annual car allowance of $ 18,000.

The legislative council discussed the salary package privately in an executive session before publicly approving it without objection.

Waguespack’s predecessor, Daryl Purpera, received a salary of $ 178,774 unchanged from 2013 and no car or housing allowance, according to the auditor’s office.

Roger Harris, the agency’s executive adviser and deputy legislative investigative auditor, said Purpera lived in Baton Rouge and operated a state-owned vehicle. Waguespack lives in Thibodaux, rents an apartment in Baton Rouge for his work, and uses his personal vehicle, Harris said.

The man who served as legislative auditor before Purpera – Steve Theriot of Jefferson Parish – received housing and car allowances similar to those approved for Waguespack, Harris said.

Before being named Louisiana’s last legislative auditor, Waguespack, a chartered accountant, served as sheriff for 16 years and had been on the Louisiana Tax Commission since 2016. Purpera retired in March after nearly 11 years as an auditor.

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