N.O. voters to decide charter amendment on splitting the offices of the IG and police monitor

N.O. voters to decide charter amendment on splitting the offices of the IG and police monitor

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Along with voting on the presidential and U.S. senate races, voters in New Orleans will decide whether to amend the city's home rule charter to finalize a compromise between the once feuding inspector general and the independent police monitor.

"This was our idea and we certainly support it and hope it will pass, but again we can't tell people what to do," said New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux.

"This is no new taxes, no millage, no new funds of any kind," said the city's Independent Police Monitor, Susan Hutson.

On the November 8th ballot is a proposed amendment to the city charter. It would codify a split of the offices of the IG and police monitor.

Last fall, the IG and police monitor signed an agreement saying they no longer wanted their offices to be associated. Before then the police monitor's office fell under the IG's Office.

The agreement which anticipated putting the question before voters followed public disputes between Quatrevaux and Hutson.

Prior to their reaching consensus on the agreement, Quatrevaux had recommended to the New Orleans Ethics Review Board that it fire Hutson, and accused her of professional and ethical misconduct, something Hutson rejected.

"I couldn't be responsible for something that I believed violated our standards. What they do is entirely different from what we do, but you know there was no way to peacefully resolve that," Quatrevaux stated Friday.

"For an office to be truly independent it number one has to have an independent voice and structure," Hutson said when contacted Friday afternoon.

If the majority of New Orleans voters agree to amend the charter, Quatrevaux would no longer have legal responsibility for the Office of the Independent Police Monitor.

"I'll be free of that responsibility and my concerns," Quatrevaux.

Importantly, the proposed charge change lays out a funding formula for the two offices, and the Ethics Review Board.

"We get three-quarters of one-percent of the city's general fund. That's .0075 of the general fund budget and we're going to split that up. The police monitor will take .16, the Ethics Board, .04, and we'll have .55," said Quatrevaux.

Hutson said the change means more stability for her office.

"We're getting that amount of funding this year just by agreement, but this will now be set in law and so this year I'm able to plan to hire three new people to do the work of this office, whereas I couldn't do that before," said Hutson.

Both agreed that since they inked the agreement with the anticipation of the ballot item, their relationship has improved.

"It's been nice and quiet and that's the way it should be. They're going about their business, we're going about our business and we're not expending energy and resources on those conflicts," Hutson said.

"And we've been functioning effectively. This office has ever since, all this year separated," said Quatrevaux.

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