NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A new report by New Orleans' inspector general finds that the Sewerage & Water Board spent almost $400,000 on fuel and repair costs for staffers' public, take-home vehicles. What's more: S&WB can't even report how often those workers used those the vehicles to serve the public.
Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux's report, released overnight, follows a FOX 8 investigation of S&WB's take-home vehicles late last year. This new report found that 45 percent of S&WB workers with take-home vehicle privileges lived outside Orleans Parish - some of them as far away as Ascension and Livingston Parish.
Although the board cut the number of employees with take-home vehicles in July from 110 to 89, 48 percent of those workers still live outside of Orleans Parish.
Quatrevaux's research also found that S&WB had few internal controls over who is assigned the take-home vehicles and how they are used. For instance, each S&WB vehicle is equipped with a global positioning system unit, or a GPS. But S&WB managers do not use the GPS to track the vehicles on a daily basis, according to the IG's report.
"According to senior S&WB officials, employees are assigned take-home vehicles in order to respond directly to emergencies after normal duty hours," the report reads. "However, the S&WB was unable to provide an accurate count of how many times their employees responded to after-hours emergencies because the S&WB does not have a system in place to monitor and review vehicle usage."