In The News › St. Tammany coalition formed to push for inspector general

Mar 8, 2013

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Ethics, Governance, St. Tammany Parish

St. Tammany coalition formed to push for inspector general

By Kim Chatelain
The Times-Picayune
March 8, 2013

Several political and civic leaders in St. Tammany have formed a coalition to push for the establishment of an Inspector General on the north shore. The Coalition for a St. Tammany Inspector General will be led by Sandra Slifer, president of the parish’s League of Women’s Voters, and Covington City Councilman Mark Wright.

The organization has established a Facebook page and is planning to meet with the Bureau of Governmental Research in April. It plans to work with state Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River, to pass enabling legislation in the legislative session that begins April 8.

In addition to Slifer and Wright, founding members include Stephanie Berault, former chair of the St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee; Gus Davis, of the local chapter of the NAACP; Sharon Hewitt, St. Tammany RPEC at-large member; and Keith Villere, former Covington mayor and current chair of the St. Tammany Democratic Parish Executive Committee.

The concept for an inspector general in St. Tammany has been discussed for years, but talked revved up over the past several weeks as revelations of questionable spending habits by the parish coroner’s office surfaced. At Thursday night’s Parish Council meeting, during which the council called for the resignation of Coroner Peter Galvan, several audience members used the agency’s troubles as an example of the need for an inspector general.

Parish President Pat Brister has been a proponent of an inspector general post, provided the holder of the job would have broad jurisdiction over the many parish taxing agencies. St. Tammany has eight municipalities and numerous fire, recreation and drainage districts, on top of parish government and offices of sheriff, coroner, district attorney, clerk of court and assessor.

Wright said he was motivated to act on the inspector general concept after Slifer made a presentation to the St. Tammany RPEC a few years ago.

“Sandra has been discussing this idea for several years,” Wright said. “She is a great resource on this issue and was promoting this before it was popular. “

Wright said the coalition hopes to provide the collaboration among governmental, business and civic leaders that will be needed to establish an inspector general.

“We are not forming this to go after any individual or institution,” he said. “It’s important that we focus on the long-term process.”

The group’s Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Coalition-for-a-St-Tammany-Inspector-General/549607255080244.

Mar 8, 2013

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Ethics, Governance, St. Tammany Parish

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