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.
The man who held the legislative auditor's job before Purpera — Steve Theriot of Jefferson Parish — received housing and car allowances similar to what's been approved for Waguespack, Harris said.
Before being named Louisiana's latest legislative auditor, Waguespack, a certified public accountant, was sheriff for 16 years and had been on the Louisiana Tax Commission since 2016. Purpera retired in March after nearly 11 years as the auditor.