The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a performance audit of the Audubon Nature Institute’s (Institute) internal controls over the employee new hire, termination, payroll, and executive compensation processes. The objectives of the audit were to determine if: 1. The Institute’s policies governing the payroll process, including new hires and terminations, provided adequate controls to ensure all payroll expenses were business-related and allowed by law; 2. The Institute’s policies governing the payroll process, including new hires and terminations, complied with best practices; and 3. The Institute complied with its policies, as well as applicable laws and/or best practices, as it pertained to the expenditure of the Audubon Commission (Commission) funds.
The Commission was an unattached board within the Executive Branch of the City of New Orleans (City), and was governed by the City of New Orleans Home Rule Charter (Charter). 1 The Commission was a public entity comprised of 24 board members who were each appointed to a six-year term by the City Mayor with the advice and consent of the New Orleans City Council (Council).The Commission was charged with administering, operating, and maintaining Audubon Park and Riverview, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Audubon Wilderness Park (collectively referred to as the Audubon Facilities).2 The Audubon Facilities were and remain public assets held in the name of the Commission.3 As a public entity, Commission funds were public funds and use of those funds was subject to the La. Const. art. VII, §14(A) which prohibited the donation of public funds. On October 24, 2013, the Commission entered into a Management and Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (Contract) with the Institute, a private non-1 City of New Orleans Home Rule Charter (Charter), §§4-102 and 5-802.2 Charter, §5-802.3 Charter, §9-301(1) (“All public property held by the City of New Orleans or by any… board of the City of New Orleans at the effective date of this charter … shall be the property of the City.”)