In The News › JP Council Moves Ahead With Reforms

Jan 15, 2010

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

JP Council Moves Ahead With Reforms

Friday, January 15, 2010
By Paul Murphy
Eyewitness News, WWLTV

Jefferson Parish leaders are now trying to get their house, back in order.

Former parish president Aaron Broussard and his top aid Tim Whitmer resigned last week, after documents revealed that an insurance company owned by Whitmer and his associates may have been doing business with as many as seven parish vendors.

Councilman Chris Roberts is proposing a new ordinance requiring all parish contractors to disclose where they get their insurance and exactly who is getting the commissions.

“If it’s not disclosed then that leads one to believe that there’s something sinister that’s going on, so the best way for us to avoid that is to require disclosure,” said Roberts.

When the insurance scandal broke, parish attorney Tom Wilkinson had to recuse himself from the investigation.

Wilkinson admits he did private legal work for Whitmer.

Roberts wants to prohibit parish attorneys and their assistants from doing private legal work for other parish employees.

“That’s our lead counsel,” said Roberts. “We need to have access to them. We need to get guidance from them, therefore we’re going to restrict the activities of the parish attorney.”

I think the council has a lot of pressure to try to set this right,” said Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.

Lee-Sheng is working on an ordinance that would require top level parish administrators and parish council staffers to disclose all sources of income and that of their spouses.

“They will be required to disclose all this information and if they are not truthful on the form, obviously they could lose their job, but also they can have a misdemeanor charged against them,” said Lee-Sheng.

Janet Howard from the Bureau of Governmental Research says the council has to look at all areas of concern, including contracting procedures, conflicts of interest and financial disclosure.

“Once you have rules in place, you also need enforcement and that is where someone like an inspector general can be of use,” said Howard.

Council Chairman John Young is currently researching the possibility of an inspector general for Jefferson Parish.

Jan 15, 2010

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

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