Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ethics Review Board works to avoid filing financial disclosure forms

This is lame. And unfortunately it reinforces earlier concerns.

LJI has the docs.

All governmental bodies that spend more than $10,000 a year are supposed to file financial disclosure forms. The Ethics Review Board requested an advisory opinion from the Louisiana Board of Ethics seeking an exemption.

The Louisiana Board of Ethics ruled(pdf) that members of the ERB are exempt from filing financial disclosure reports based on the premise, supplied by Rev. Kevin Wildes, that the ERB's spending decisions must be approved by the City of New Orleans' CAO, Brenda Hatfield.

Is it even true that all spending decisions by the Ethics Review Board must be approved by the CAO?

Wasn't the Ethics Review Board allocated $300,000 in both 2008 and 2009?

Yup. It's true(pdf, page 350).

This doesn't make me happy.
A legitimate Ethics Review Board is a must if we want a legitimate Office of Inspector General.

This whole thing is a serious mess and a serious disappointment.

The only solution that makes sense to me right now is to totally restructure the Ethics Review Board so that it has some legitimacy with the public.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but your comments are complete bs.

Get to the point: there is a move afoot with heavy, heavy rotation and effort by the machine atheir organ wbok to eliminate the review board and the IG.

Watch the ball: there will be indictments on the tech contracts based on the IG's report and there is a massive out-the-door contract boondoggle in waiting in the form of the airport sale, and this whole thing is an attempt to discredit the IG's office and its credibility.

The "sins" of the IG & ERB amount to Moody and Odom getting left in charge of the shop. Now that is unforgiveable but enough of giving credence to this slander campaign.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Slander campaign? If the Ethics Review Commission tried to get itself exempted from the state Ethics laws, as the documents suggest, I wouldn't call that slander, I'd call it a bad faith of the highest order.

In slander, truth is an absolute defense, and from the documents it looks like the Ethics Commission did try to get itself exempted, based on a false assumption, and that itself is UNETHICAL by any standard.

E said...

I like this comment - I'm not an authority on the backbiting going on at the OIG and ERB - but I don't just immediately dismiss everything that's said on WBOK just because. I think a couple things can be true at once.

"there will be indictments on the tech contracts based on the IG's report and there is a massive out-the-door contract boondoggle in waiting in the form of the airport sale"

I think this is true and speaks volumes about the need for a strong OIG. But might it also be true that the ERB is poorly structured and that the OIG has basically been undermined. I have no problem to heaping most of the blame on Mr. Odom but I'm reticent to blame him for all of it.

I don't think the OIG or the ERB are at risk of being eliminated. I do think their credibility is at risk. I think that's a problem that needs to be solved perhaps starting with an examination of what goes on at the ERB and OIG.

Superdeformed said...

It's entirely possible that both the sides in this issue are corrupt. It's not a matter of if you take a stance against the ERB that you are for city corruption. It's hardly a two-sided black and white kind of world.

The ERB needs to be held to just as standards as the political machines they are designed to keep in check, I don't that's too much to ask for.

Papa Bear said...

The mess with the OIG & the ERB really started from the push in early 2008 by uber-supporters of the OIG/ERB for the inspector general to overstep the boundaries of the current City Charter and control various parts of city government.

This began the slippery slope that the OIG/ERB has traveled down, that ended with the "September Massacre". The LJI's findings concerning the exemption is only the hypocritical cherry on top of a already sour cake.

Eli's statements on 9/22/09 referencing the socioracialeconomic issues that are the foundation of discord in New Orleans are just the foreword to the true story of the battles that have been/are crippling this city.

Anonymous said...

Papa Bear, which various parts of city government has the inspector general tried to control? Was this just the intent of the supporters, or have any of the IG's to date attempted to use this control?

What has the OIG or ERB done since then to travel down a slippery slope?

I'm not arguing with you. I'm just not familiar with what you're talking about, and this discussion interests me.

Papa Bear said...

for most of 2008 Whenever Mayor Nagin did something wrong, the supporters of the OIG office not only wanted a investigation but made statements that they wanted the IG to oversee various aspects of city government.

Cerosoli & Odom pushed the outside statements to the side, but the new guy's declaration that he would start scanning the businesses that are applying for city contracts has started worries that businesses that are startups may not qualify for opportunities that can make them big time.

I'll rephrase that the OIG/ERB weren't the ones that lead the charge down the slope, but they are part of the ride whether they want to or not.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, Papa Bear. I understand that concern.

But it's been pretty clear that the problems with contracts in the current administration are not the small tasks given to small local businesses. The problem are the massive giveaways to the large national firms sucking at the City's teat -- Ciber, HSOA, MWH, etc., as well as the obvious self-dealing in the technology department. I honestly think that's where the new IG will focus his efforts.

That story might be different if these "start-ups" are just new companies formed by political insiders or long-time City vendors.

If the NAACP or anyone else wants to have an honest discussion on exactly how Ed Q. meant when he said he wanted to monitor contracts, I'm all for it. But instead the discussion remains at the dishonest level of exposing Cerasoli's purchase of too many computers as a reason to shut down the office.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of hypocrites! Can they get away with this?

Papa Bear said...


that's the issue. NEITHER side is willing to have THAT discussion. It's been broken down in the media as the following:

"Blacks just want to stay corrupt and don't want City Hall to get cleaned up" & "Whites just want to take over City Hall and cut out minority businesses"