In The News › Jefferson Parish considers creating Office of Inspector General

Jan 21, 2010

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

Jefferson Parish considers creating Office of Inspector General

Thursday, January 21, 2010
By Bill Capo
Eyewitness News, WWLTV

KENNER, La. — Two-weeks after the top two officials in Jefferson Parish government resigned during an expanding controversy, Councilman Tom Capella is proposing a resolution to set up a committee to study whether to create an Office of Inspector General.

“When you start looking about what the pubic really wants, and what government wants, we don’t want this to happen again in Jefferson parish, so an inspector general is the way to go,” Capella said.

The committee would look at the duties and authority Jefferson’s inspector general should have, the level of independence needed from other parish agencies, and how to set up funding for the office.

“It is another set of eyes, a completely different set of eyes that can come in and say, I want to see this, you’re doing this right according to the charter, you’re doing this wrong according to the charter,” Capella said.

“Currently if someone within the public or that works within parish government has any issues relative to questionable activity, there’s really no one within the parish that is identified to investigate,” Councilman Chris Roberts said as he expressed support for the resolution.

Councilman John Young, who was in Washington Thursday, first proposed the idea the day after CAO Tim Whitmer resigned.

“This would be something that would look at contracts, look at fraud and waste in parish government, and figure out how we can operate more efficiently,” Young said on January 5.

Councilman Byron Lee supports the idea, but wants more details.

“Considering that we have some ongoing matters that the federal government and other agencies are looking at, I don’t know how large the problems are,” Lee said. “But I do know that we want Jefferson Parish to be the type of place where people want to raise their families, and have faith in government.”

The resolution creates a committee staffed by members of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the East and West Jefferson Civic Coalitions, the Jefferson Business Council, and the Bureau of Governmental Research, which helped Orleans Parish establish its inspector general.

“You have to give the office independence, and that means you have to be very careful about how the inspector general is appointed,” said Janet Howard of the Bureau Governmental Research. “Second issue is funding source. For an inspector general really to work effectively, they need a steady, stable funding source.”

The resolution is on next Wednesday’s council agenda, and can be voted on at that time. Once the committee begins working, they have until August to finish the job. But councilmen Capella and Young hope it will finish early. Councilman Capella hopes they will be able to hire an inspector general before the end of the year.

Jan 21, 2010

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

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