In an evolutionary process influenced by legislation, philosophical and historic impact, and the vision of its five leaders, the Office of the Legislative Auditor has emerged as one of the most respected agencies in the State of Louisiana. With a staff of highly skilled professionals, the Office of the Legislative Auditor functions as a model agency unencumbered by any semblance of political bias or influence.
Prior to the beginning of the constitutionally mandated Office of the Legislative Auditor in 1964, the audit function in the state was performed by various agencies. The first agency in 1907 was the “traveling auditor,” whose directive was to determine that the state was receiving all of its rightful revenues. In 1910, the office of supervisor of public accounts, with an organized staff of accountants, was created to audit all public boards, commissions, and departments of state government, as well as parish school boards and road and drainage districts. As other state taxes were levied, the responsibility for collecting them was imposed on the supervisor of public accounts. The office did an admirable job of supervising the collection of taxes by the sheriffs, and eventually the duty of collecting all but the property taxes was transferred from the sheriffs to the supervisor of public accounts.
A 1936 amendment to the Constitution of 1921 created two new offices, the office of supervisor of public funds and the office of collector of revenue, to replace the supervisor of public accounts, with the two officers to be appointed by the governor to serve at his pleasure. The audit functions for the state were transferred to the supervisor of public funds.
By constitutional amendment in 1962, the Office of the Legislative Auditor was created although the first legislative auditor was not appointed until 1964 at the beginning of a new governor’s term. The legislature wanted a strong office with constitutional authority to perform the job of auditing by a legislative auditor who, while answerable to the legislature as a whole, would be as independent and as secure in his position as possible. The legislative auditor was to be elected and his salary fixed by the vote of a majority of the members elected to each house, and he was to serve without a term limit. He could be removed only by a concurrence of a majority of the members elected to each house. The Constitutional amendment of 1974, Article III, section 11 established the Office of the Legislative Auditor as it exists today. The constitutional mandate states that the legislative auditor is responsible solely to the legislature, serving as fiscal advisor and performing the duties and functions related to auditing the fiscal records of the state. Elected by a majority of the members of each house with removal by the concurrence of two-thirds of the elected members, the legislative auditor is the only constitutional officer in the state not elected by the voters.
With the creation of the Office of the Legislative Auditor, in 1973 the legislature also created a legislative oversight committee for the auditor. The Legislative Audit Advisory Council has become one of the most respected committees of the Louisiana Legislature. The audit advisory council serves as an audit resolution council and provides general oversight for operations of the legislative auditor.
With legislative approval, the legislative auditor then created an actuarial services function to advise the legislature on retirement matters. Acturial Services staff provide fiscal notes on all pending retirement legislation and special studies to the legislature on retirement matters. The legislative auditor also contributed to the creation of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, whose accounting principles guide government to this day.
Under the leadership of the current legislative auditor, Mr. Daryl Purpera, the office focuses on enhancing communication with the legislature, with emphasis on providing information in a timely and meaningful manner, as well as providing assistance, advice, and training to state and local government auditees.
The legislative auditor’s duties today include oversight of both state and local government finances. The legislative auditor’s staff reviews all financial reports of state government entities as part of the State of Louisiana Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Local government may contract with CPA firms for audit services, giving local government the freedom to use the services of the legislative auditor or seek the services of a local CPA firm. If local government uses a CPA firm to produce its financial report, the staff of the legislative auditor ascertains that rigorous standards are met, adhering to the professional auditing standards of the United States Government Accountability Office and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Adapting to the changing needs of the state, the office has evolved to include financial audit services, performance audit services, investigative audit services, advisory services, and recovery assistance services. The financial audit staff provides audits to state governmental agencies and universities, assessing the stewardship of public officials thereby instilling the public’s confidence in government. The performance audit staff examines the effectiveness and efficiency of public programs and activities of state government and provides information to the legislature and program managers. The investigative audit staff investigates allegations of impropriety in both state and local government and performs background investigations for senate confirmation. The advisory services staff provides information and advice on best practices, provides training and assistance on reporting, and advises local governments on compliance with state law. In the wake of recent hurricanes, the office initiated recovery assistance services. The recovery assistance staff provides guidance on Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness programs.
The office continues to evolve and develop its significant state and national recognition, strongly adhering to the standards of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The office works to enhance respect for the state by fulfilling its mission to make government responsive to the needs of the people of Louisiana and accountable for the efficient, effective, and appropriate use of public resources through timely, objective, and accurate public communications.
|List of Past Auditors by Name & Title||Date Appointed|
|Special Agent to the Auditor|
|T. O. Harris||01-31-1908|
|Archie M. Smith||05-22-1908|
|Supervisor of Public Accounts|
|Archie M. Smith||07-01-1910|
|W. N. McFarland||08-01-1912|
|E. A. Conway||09-26-1928|
|Alice Lee Grosjean||05-07-1932|
|Supervisor of Public Funds|
|W. A. Cooper||08-20-1937|
|Alice Lee Grosjean||02-03-1939|
|Frank S. Shattuck||02-17-1939|
|Jerome A. Hayes||05-20-1940|
|Archie M. Smith||11-01-1943|
|Allison R. Kolb||05-22-1952|
|Junius H. Payne||06-13-1956|
|J. B. Lancaster||09-24-1956|
|J. B. Lancaster||07-01-1964|
|Joseph H. Burris||08-01-1972|
|Daniel G. Kyle, CPA, CFE, CGFM||08-01-1989|
|Steve J. Theriot, CPA||05-20-2004|
|Daryl G. Purpera, CPA, CFE||04-19-2010|