Higher pay package set for new Louisiana legislative auditor

Louisiana News

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s new legislative auditor, whose office reviews the financial books of state and local government agencies, is getting a higher pay package than his predecessor, under a salary agreement negotiated with lawmakers behind closed doors.

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

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

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

Roger Harris, the agency’s executive counsel and assistant legislative auditor for investigations, said Purpera lived in Baton Rouge and used a state-owned vehicle. Waguespack lives in Thibodaux, rents a Baton Rouge apartment for his job and uses his personal vehicle, Harris said.

That prompted the creation of Move the Mindset and other groups to raise awareness about the statue’s Jim Crow-era history, the treatment of Black people during that period and the negative implications of having a Confederate statue at an entrance to Lafayette’s downtown.

Sixteen members of Move the Mindset filed papers in 2019 to intervene in the 1980 injunction, arguing that the group’s unconditional donation of the statue left it without any legal right to fight a move.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory asked lawyers to investigate options and in 2020 the City Council endorsed removal. The city joined Move the Mindset in the legal fight against the 1980 injunction.

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