In The News › JP Council to tackle ethics issues

Mar 24, 2010

Source: Fox 8 TV

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

JP Council to tackle ethics issues

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By Val Bracy
Fox 8 TV

Jefferson – Not long after the Tim Whitmer scandal broke, Jefferson Parish started learning that contractors were buying insurance from him or companies he was affiliated with.

The council tried to cancel some of those contracts but parish attorneys said that was against the law.

Now the council will take a different approach.

“I’m trying to bring some accountability and transparency to the contractors’ side of the equation,” said Councilman John Young.

On Wednesday, the council is scheduled to vote on transparency legislation that would hold accountable contractors who knowingly violate state or parish ethics laws.

“And if there’s a knowing violation they can be prohibited from doing work for the parish for two years and fined as liquidated damages $10,000,” said Young.

Young’s ordinance would also penalize felons.

“If the contractor either pleads or is convicted of a crime of public corruption they can be bared from doing work with the parish for up to five years,” said Young.

The council agenda includes several orders of business the public is likely to be watching. The council will vote on hiring an Internal Auditor and an Ethics Compliance Officer. There is also legislation requiring the Parish Attorney to work full-time for the parish. Also, the council is asking the Bureau of Governmental Research to help craft policy that relates to the public outrage over Steve Theriot’s behind the scenes appointment as interim parish president.

“There was no clear route that the council…or any guidance given to the council on what needed to be done in order to make or name an interim appointment,” said Councilman Chris Roberts who sponsored the resolution.

Roberts stands by the decision to appoint Theriot without public input after Aaron Broussard’s abrupt resignation but he says there needs to be criteria in place in case the parish faces a similar situation in the future.

The BGR says it will do research on models from around the country as it helps Jefferson develop a policy on filling vacant council and parish president positions.

“Clearly there were some hiccups along the way, but the fact that they’re trying to address them so it doesn’t happen again, I think shows that there’s a positive spirit,” said Janet Howard of the BGR.

Mar 24, 2010

Source: Fox 8 TV

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

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