Public corruption investigators still on chopping block as part of budget cuts

Public corruption investigators still on chopping block as part of budget cuts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Inspector General's Office will see a cut in funding, but the amount is less than originally anticipated.

The Inspector General's Office is charged with investigating cases of fraud and possible public corruption. Originally the agency was predicted to see a 30 percent reduction in funds to help correct the budget shortfall for fiscal year 2016-2017. Inspector General Steven Street says the cuts are now expected to be as low as half that, or only as high as 20 percent.

"The updated budget numbers would cause a net loss of two to three investigators," Street explained. "If the cuts is 15 percent, it would be two. If it's 20 percent, it would be three."

The Inspector General's Office currently maintains 16 positions. Two of those spots are currently empty from employees leaving for other jobs. Street says any cut will make an impact.

"All of our positions are mission critical because of the relatively small size of our office, and would definitely affect our productivity if eliminated," Street noted.

The cuts are not final, so adjustments are still possible.

"You can go to Bass Pros and buy a plug that goes in the bottom of the boat for $10. If you get rid of that plug, you'll save the $10, but eventually you're going to end up with damage to that boat that's exponentially way worse than $10," Street said during a recent subcommittee meeting of the House Appropriations Committee.

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