Hahnville fire department seeks ethical review

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY-Staff Writer

HAHNVILLE – The Hahnville Volunteer Fire Department took a proactive step and is seeking a Louisiana Ethics Board review of their financial practices on Jan. 8.

The request from the department, as published in the board’s agenda, reads as follows: “Consideration of a request for an advisory opinion regarding whether a member of the Board for the Hahnville Volunteer Fire Department may work as a salaried employee of the Fire Department and whether his daughter may serve as Treasurer of the Fire Department.”

Fire Chief Reggie Gaubert, the salaried employee in question, explained the request, saying the department’s bylaws calls for the fire chief to also serve on the board. Meanwhile, the chief is also serving as a salaried administrator for the department.

His daughter, Dawn Gaubert, was recently elected treasurer of the fire department, so it was agreed by the board to seek an advisory opinion to ensure the legality of the situation.

“We’re just making sure what we’re doing is OK,” Gaubert said.

He added that on matters of fiscal concern, the chief recuses himself and continued that when it comes to making purchases for the department, the procedure establishes makes certain the checks and balances are in place.

In making purchases, Gaubert said, first the matter goes to the finance committee, then it is reviewed and voted upon by the full membership, then it goes to the chief and then back to the finance committee.

“We set this up on our own,” Gaubert continued. “It’s similar to other departments, but here it all goes back to the finance committee and the membership knows everything going on.”

The Board of Ethics meeting is Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. at the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency office, 2415 Quail Drive, third floor, Baton Rouge.