Quatrevaux explains workings of office
Orleans Parish Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux answered technical questions about his office Monday night, as well as more philosophical inquiries about its purpose from a panel charged with investigating the feasibility of creating an inspector general in St. Tammany Parish.
His appearance at the second meeting of the St. Tammany Parish Inspector General Task Force on Monday followed a decision made by the 24-member panel last month to educate its members about the office.
Panel members asked Quatrevaux about his budget, his staffing levels, his hiring authority and which public bodies he has the authority to investigate.
Slidell City Attorney Bryan Haggerty asked Quatrevaux a more fundamental question: Whether he thinks every parish or municipal government should have an IG. “What’s the criteria?” Haggerty asked.
“People do a lot of things that they should not do,” Quatrevaux said. The world is not full of wonderful people, he said — “on the contrary, it’s full of thieves and liars.”
Government, he said, is especially vulnerable to such people.
Quatrevaux stressed the importance of independence for the office — “You can’t investigate your boss,” he said. He also said that the Orleans Parish office is considered to be the gold standard for OIGs. In four years, he said, the office has issued 52 reports and uncovered $30 million of waste, fraud and abuse.
Panel member Ron Guth asked Quatrevaux if he ever felt frustrated or worried that the work his office does is for naught.
“No, we’re making progress,” Quatrevaux said. “We’re going to win.”
Guth asked what he meant by that.
“We’re going to put the bad guys in jail and make sure New Orleans has effective and efficient government,” Quatrevaux said.
The task force, which meets the second Monday of the month, agreed to revise its schedule to the first Monday for October and November because of federal holidays. The group also voted to add a member from the village of Sun, which was not included in the Senate resolution that called for the creation of a task force.
But while those housekeeping matters were discharged quickly, the panel wrestled with coming up with a mission statement and setting up committees.
Charles Branton, who represents the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, wanted the panel to adopt what he described as a plain, straightforward statement: To study whether or not the group should create the office of inspector general for the parish of St. Tammany.
But other panelists were reluctant to use the word “should” and stressed that investigating feasibility is a different matter from determining what should or should not be done.
Carl Ernst, who represents Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, said that he did not think the task force needed to adopt a mission statement — the wording of the resolution that created the task force is sufficient, he said.
A motion to adopt Branton’s mission statement failed, and a motion to accept the wording of the Senate resolution — as amended to include Sun — was adopted as the statement.
The task force also voted to create three committees, the first to deal with jurisdiction, including the duties and functions of the IG; the second to analyze existing structure; and the third to look into how to finance the office.
Chairman Rick Danielson asked members to submit their first and second choices and said he would get the appointments made in time for the committees to meet before the task force’s October meeting.