Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Vote of No Confidence: The Case for Re-Organization of the New Orleans Ethics Review Board and Office of Inspector General

Featured below is the introduction from the most recent report from the Louisiana Justice Institute: A Vote of No Confidence: The Case for Re-Organization of the New Orleans Ethics Review Board and Office of Inspector General. We believe that the debate over the future direction of these institutions is a vital part of New Orleans' future. You can download the complete report at


A “vote of no confidence” signifies that a majority of a constituency does not support a governing body or official. Recently, the citizens of New Orleans have voiced an informal vote of no confidence or disfavor with the City of New Olreans’ Ethics Review Board (ERB), and its governance of the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

This public disfavor is in response to recent news that the ERB has fumbled its fundamental public duty, which is the hiring of a qualified Inspector General for the City of New Orleans. Additionally, there is public concern regarding recent break-ins in OIG offices that were involved in reporting problems within the office and the hiring of unqualified personnel to serve in high-level positions at the ERB and OIG. The management of the OIG and the ERB has created dysfunction that prevents these offices from pursuing their mandates. Furthermore, decisions and other actions taken by the ERB and OIG are shrouded in secrecy, which defeats the principles of transparency and governmental accountability that these offices were established to uphold in the public interest.

Some members of the New Orleans City Council argue that these offices will right themselves on their own. However, in their current posture it is difficult to envision these offices ever regaining the public trust without significant public involvement that ensures reform.

The complete Louisiana Justice Institute report presents the governance structure and mandate of the ERB and OIG, a summary of the currently known controversies involving these offices and their genesis, and recommendations for structural change that can restore public trust in these fledgling offices so that they can perform the work required for effective governmental oversight.

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