JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Inspector General says his office is under attack from the administration in his own parish. Tens of thousands of dollars were taken out of his budget, something the IG says the administration doesn't have the authority to do.
Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock will tell you his job is to fight fraud, government waste and illegal activity. He started that work after former parish president Aaron Broussard's 2012 conviction on public corruption charges. But Wednesday night, McClintock said the current parish administration is standing in his way.
"I don't understand it. I don't understand the lack of communication, the lack of documentation. It is unusual and it is disturbing," McClintock said.
McClintock wrote a letter to Parish President John Young on Wednesday, saying the administration had no authority to take $40,268 out of his budget to pay for the October 2011 general election. McClintock says his office and the Jefferson Parish Ethics and Compliance Commission are supposed to work independently of the parish so that they can do their job effectively. But, he says, the administration's latest move is a "serious affront" to that independence.
"Especially if this trend was to continue, if they were to take the position that they don't need the approval that they seemingly need, yes, it could be incredibly troublesome and it could cut down on our ability," McClintock said.
McClintock went before the Ethics and Compliance Commission Wednesday night asking for their help.
"Well, it's bad enough that they have taken the money, but the manner in which they have done it is absolutely insulting. They have violated the authority that they have given to us," said Ethics and Compliance Commission Chairman Carroll Suggs.
Jefferson Parish Finance Director Tim Palmatier released the following statement Wednesday night:
"The Jefferson Parish Finance Department appreciates and respects the Office of the Inspector General and the attendant work incumbent to that office. The transfer of the respective pro-rata share of election expenses associated with the creation of the Office of the Inspector General follows established protocols for other Jefferson Parish departments with dedicated revenue streams The Jefferson Parish Finance Department is more than willing to continue discussions regarding the manner in which those expenses were pro-rated."
McClintock says he previously asked the administration for a meeting to talk about taking money from his budget but he says they refused. Wednesday night, the Jefferson Parish Ethics and Compliance Commission voted unanimously to ask the administration to immediately return the more than $40,000 taken from the Inspector General's budget. If they don't, the commission wants the parish council to vote on the matter.