Guest post: Jefferson Parish Citizens for Good Government comments on proposed Jefferson I.G. ordinance

Supporters of Good Government:

Citizens for Good Government was disappointed that the ordinance to limit the ability of the Jefferson Parish Inspector General to conduct his investigations has been deferred until the April 9th council meeting. CFGG Chairman Margaret Baird and I both expressed our disappointment at the March 19th council meeting about the deferral of this ordinance, since we wanted it to be cancelled or defeated.

The objectionable ordinance would require Inspector General David McClintock to provide written requests in order to obtain information from our government, although our Code of Ordinances currently permits him unrestricted access to this information without such a request. Unfortunately, among other things, such written requests would alert the objects of his investigations and would make him ineffective. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street and New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatevaux both agree that it is important for our IG to have direct and unlimited access to this information, as does President Raphael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

We want to thank profusely all of those who called the councilmembers and urged them to vote NO on this terrible ordinance. By the way, three councilmen have publicly expressed their intention to vote NO on the ordinance: Chris Roberts, Ricky Templet, and Elton Lagasse. Councilman Lagasse’s aide came to the Inspector General meeting with the Ethics and Compliance Commission last Wednesday night, which was attended by Citizens for Good Government, and she announced that Councilman Lagasse was planning on voting NO.

We very much appreciate that Councilmen Roberts, Templet and Lagasse have had the courage to publicly announce their intention to oppose the current ordinance. It has been difficult to get the other councilmembers to express their intentions publicly. However, we believe that the other councilmembers owe it to the citizens of Jefferson to vote NO on this ordinance, since Jeffersonians overwhelmingly voted for the Inspector General, and we want this ordinance defeated. CFGG believes that the council’s vote on this ordinance is a test of their commitment to the success of our Office of Inspector General.

We don’t know ANYONE who supports this ordinance, but we know an awful lot of people who are passionately opposed to this ordinance, including Citizens for Good Government. We want our Inspector General to be successful, and we want him to have the unrestricted access to parish information, so that he can effectively and efficiently investigate possible fraud, waste, and corruption in our government.

Citizens for Good Government is gearing up to continue the fight to defeat this ordinance. We want to again thank those who helped, and we ask anyone who would like to help to email me for information on the message and the telephone numbers of the councilmen.

We need to win this battle, and we won’t settle for anything less.

Margie Seemann
Vice-Chairman, Citizens for Good Government
(504)912-1936

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