HIGHLIGHTING OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
June 2015 - January 2016 

NOPD MAJOR REDEPLOYMENT ECHOES OIG RECOMMENDATIONS

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison announced on January 13 a restructuring of the department to move 94 officers to patrol to respond to citizen calls for service. The move was another step by NOPD to implement recommendations made by the OIG in its May 2014 NOPD Staffing and Deployment report .  
 
January 13, 2016, NOPD Headquarters: NOPD deputy chiefs surround Supt. Harrison as he announces the move of nearly 100 officers to patrol.

While patrol should be the backbone of a police department, the OIG found only 21 percent of NOPD officers assigned to patrol and answering calls for service. We identified 90 officers I-IV in positions such as information technology, public records, and vehicle maintenance that could be handled by civilians. NOPD's restructuring moves officers to patrol from most of the same positions identified by the OIG.
 
NOPD's plan to redeploy more officers to the street after Mardi Gras follows the adoption of other OIG recommendations such as changing burglar alarm response policies and making use of alternative reporting and police responses for non-violent crimes in order to deploy sworn officers to patrol duties.

Watch   Fox 8 News coverage including reaction from Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux.
 
OIG CONSTRUCTION FRAUD DIVISION MONITORING WORK ON AIRPORT NEW TERMINAL

January 14, 2016, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport: Groundbreaking ceremony for new North Terminal complex.
 
City, regional, business, and tourism leaders broke ground on the new North Terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport scheduled for opening October 1, 2018. The airport also celebrated two record highs: more than 10 million passengers in 2015 and 52 direct flights on 14 airlines.  Learn More
 

OIG RECOMMENDED SALES OF TAX DELINQUENT PROPERTIES PRODUCE MORE THAN $12 MILLION IN REVENUE

A   follow-up report released December 23, 2015 measured the City's response to a 2013 Delinquent Property Tax Collection Program report th at found the City paid its collections contractor ten times the cost of services for a program that was less effective than it could have been. Learn More.

ACCOUNTING CONTRACTOR OIG CAUGHT DEFRAUDING TRAFFIC COURT REPORTS TO FEDERAL PRISON

Vandale Thomas reported to a Fort Worth federal prison in December to begin serving a three-year sentence for theft, money laundering, and tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. sentenced Thomas in August and ordered him to make restitution in the amount of $684,066 to the City.
 
The OIG identified Thomas as overbilling Traffic Court during its evaluation of the Court in 2011 and worked with its federal law enforcement partners to bring Thomas to justice and secure restitution for the City. The Court awarded Thomas a contract in 2008 to provide accounting and bookkeeping services to the Court not to exceed $75,000 a year. By 2011, Thomas had received 173 checks totaling $1,311,066.

Read coverage of Thomas' sentencing in The New Orleans Advocate. 
 
 

INSPECTOR GENERAL SUPPORTS CHARTER CHANGE ELECTION TO CREATE SEPARATE OFFICE OF INDEPENDENT POLICE MONITOR

The Inspector General withdrew his request to the Ethics Review Board to terminate the employment of the Independent Police Monitor when the Monitor accepted the IG's offer to separate the two offices subject to voter approval. The City Council approved a charter change election on the November 8 ballot next fall.
                 
 
 
October 14, 2015, Office of New Orleans Councilmember Jared Brossett: Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson and Inspector General Quatrevaux sign agreement to separate their offices.
IG SPEAKS TO PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF AMERICA NEW ORLEANS CHAPTER ABOUT ETHICS & MESSAGING

Community attention to the challenges surrounding the OIG/IPM conflict prompted an invitation by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) New Orleans Chapter for IG Quatrevaux to address the topic of ethics and messaging. He spoke to attendees of PRSA's October 22 luncheon about his rethinking of the role of media and messaging in accomplishing the mission of the OIG. "The public needs to be aware of the work we do and recognize its value, so that the OIG can continue to fight the good fight," Quatrevaux said. 

October 22, 2015, Calcasieu: The IG addresses PRSA New Orleans luncheon.
AUDIT FINDS EXCESSIVE OVERTIME AND STANDBY PAY FOR SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD EMPLOYEES   

The OIG released its   Sewerage & Water Board Payroll report August 19. The audit found in 2013 the S&WB paid its workers $1.5 million in standby pay and a projected $3 million in overtime pay in violation of Civil Service rules and the Louisiana Constitution.

Auditors also found S&WB management did not effectively budget for or monitor overtime, spending $9.4 million on overtime, exceeding its overtime budget by $4.8 million. Learn More

BUDGETARY CONTROL OF TRAFFIC COURT RETURNED TO CITY AS RECOMMENDED IN OIG REPORT

An OIG report on Funding of Traffic Court released July 29 recommended returning budgetary oversight of the Court to the City Council and shifting core funding to the City's general fund to reduce the Court's reliance on its Judicial Expense Fund. This recommended change was implemented when the City included the Court's funding in its 2016 operating budget.  Learn More


EVALUATION OF DWI CASE PROCESSING FINDS FEW CONSEQUENCES FOR NEW ORLEANS DRUNK DRIVERS

On June 24 the OIG released a report on DWI Case Processing that found serious flaws in every step in the process, from arrest through prosecution, probation,  and
closing of drunk driving cases in Orleans Parish. Systemic inadequacies made it possible for some of the most dangerous repeat DWI offenders to remain on the road. Learn More 

CITY COUNCIL TAKES FIRST STEPS TO TRIM CONSULTING FEES, BUILD IN-HOUSE CAPACITY FOLLOWING OIG UTILITIES REGULATION REPORT

On June 17, the OIG released its New Orleans Utilities Regulation report recommending a significant overhaul of the local regulatory process.

The report recommended that the City Council retain its unique regulatory authority until there is further clarity on the impact of ongoing changes to the Entergy companies. The OIG made 20 recommendations to increase the likelihood that regulatory decisions made by the Council promote the public interest. Learn More

OTHER OIG REPORTS AND PUBLIC LETTERS RELEASED BETWEEN JUNE AND DECEMBER


OIG INVESTIGATOR HONORED BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AS PART OF NAGIN PROSECUTION TEAM

Criminal Investigator Eduardo Hernandez was one of 15 people representing the Eastern District of Louisiana presented June 4 in Washington, D.C., with a Director's Award for Superior Performance for the investigation and prosecution of former Mayor C. Ray Nagin.

OIG Investigator Eduardo Hernandez (center) stands with (L-R) U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates.
Elizabeth Pape: "I want all New Orleanians to know that this is their ofice and that we work for them."
GET TO KNOW US
  
In each newsletter, we introduce our readers to a member of the OIG staff Inspector and Evaluator Elizabeth Pape joined our team in May 2011.    

Here's our Q & A with Elizabeth.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE OIG?

I've always had a passion for working in local government. I feel like it's a place you can really impact people's day-to-day lives. 

WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON NEXT

In February we will release our latest installment in our series of reports on justice system funding: an evaluation of the City's Law Department. In 2016 auditors will release reports on the New Orleans Police Department's sex offender checks and the accuracy of sex crimes data reporting to the FBI, and evaluators have reports on the City's 311 system and Pedestrian Walk Signals, Fleet Management, and Fuel Dispensing on tap.
 
  Also coming soon is the launch of our newly designed website.
This newsletter and the accompanying video were funded in part by a grant from Baptist Community Ministries for the purpose of providing information to the public about the OIG's governmental oversight activities.

Anyone with tips that can help OIG detect fraud in city government should contact us. Reach us online or call us at (504) 681-3247.