Richard named city’s fiscal administrator

Published 2:18 pm Friday, May 31, 2019

District Judge William J. “Rusty” Knight appointed Albert J. “Joey” Richard III as the fiscal administrator for the city of Bogalusa, during a hearing held Friday morning at the Washington Parish courthouse in Franklinton.

Knight was given the authority to make the appointment, based on a decision by the state’s Fiscal Review Committee in February. The committee consisted of Assistant Attorney General Wilbur Stiles, Assistant State Treasurer Ron Henson and Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.

A fiscal administrator replaces locally elected officials in times of financial trouble. Administrators have the power to raise fees, cut services, lay off employees and perform other actions in order to keep municipalities’ budgets in line.

Bogalusa’s elected officials will essentially serve as advisors to the state administrator until it is determined the crisis has been solved.

The city’s largest liability is the improper funding of the city’s retirement pension system, known as COBERS. As of 2017, the pension system had a net liability of $22.4 million and was funded at just a 17-percent ratio. For comparison’s sake, the state’s teachers’ retirement system is funded at 70 percent.

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette told the Fiscal Review Committee in February that the city has determined it needs to save approximately $1 million a year to meet its financial obligations, going forward.

Perrette was in attendance at Friday’s hearing, along with City Attorney Dale Branch. Bogalusa City Council member Gloria Kates also listened to the hearing, Perrette said.

“The city of Bogalusa is going to work together with Mr. Richard,” Perrette told The Daily News. “We got a chance to meet him Friday, and he seems like a nice and hard-working person. He’s going to be making a plan and helping to guide us, and we’re going to finally resolve some of these things that have been hanging over the city’s head for the last 30 years or more.”

Perrette has previously noted that one of Bogalusa’s biggest challenges is the loss of population in recent decades.

“Our city was based off 25,000 people,” she told The Daily News in February. “And our population as of 2010 was 12,232 people. The tax base has dwindled.”

Perrette said that Richard will “not have an office in City Hall” but will visit Bogalusa often and assist the city in all financial duties. He will visit the city Thursday to meet with employees for the first time, Perrette said.

Richard is the managing member of RICHARD CPAS, LLC, of Metairie. The company’s website is

According to the website, Richard “has 40 years of professional accounting and auditing experience.”

Perrette said that she believes there will be a good working relationship between the city and the fiscal administrator.

“I believe that it will be a smooth process,” she said. “I know that I am going to be in support and work with him, and I believe the council is going to be behind us 100 percent. He’s a numbers man, so we know that he’ll make some of those tough decisions. I really think it could be a renaissance for our city.”

Perrette said that she, Branch, Richard and other state and local officials were told to reconvene in Judge Knight’s chambers on Sept. 20. At that time, they will be expected to present a concrete plan of action to address the city’s financial shortfalls.

“It’s still business as usual,” she said. “The city is still functioning as it always has.”

The city of Bogalusa will pay all costs and expenses associated with the independent financial administration.