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JP inspector general, Yenni administration in dispute over access to parish buildings

Source: Clerk of Court website Source: Clerk of Court website
JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) -

Jefferson Parish’s inspector general accuses Parish President Mike Yenni’s administration of not giving him the access he needs to parish buildings, but Yenni’s No. 2 said Tuesday that they have gone out of their way to work with the IG.

"My staff and myself have no access. I can't get into a single door anywhere in the parish outside of my own office here,” said IG David McClintock.

He sent a formal memo to Yenni referencing an ordinance passed by the Parish Council about his authority. It reads: “At all times the inspector general shall have access to any building or facility that is owned, operated or leased by the parish or any department, agency, board, commission, or any property held in trust to the parish.”

McClintock said the opposite is happening.

"We were told to tell them - being the administration - what building we wanted to be in and what time, and they would accompany us and let us in there.  That is not the way it works. The Office of Inspector General is an operational independent entity by design, by state and parish law, and when you're an operational independent entity, the last thing you want to do is to allow those that you have oversight over to put conditions on your access. That's what's happening here,” McClintock said.

Yenni administration Chief Operating Officer Keith Conley insists they are not against the inspector general.

“We don't want to be adversarial with the IG, but yet we're in our infancy, they're in their infancy, and I think there's a lot of compromises that are going to have to be made,” Conley said.

However he expressed disappointment over how McClintock is handling the situation.

"I'm a little discouraged that he went to the media with his complaints. I think he knew that we had a meeting coming up with his boss, the chair of the commission. ...We tried to come to a compromise and have a liaison with our director of security who would allow him access to buildings, no questions asked. Apparently he's not happy with that,” said Conley.

McClintock thinks an all-access card would be appropriate.

"My experience is that you have general access to the buildings that you need to, and a lot of the cases it's usually done like every other employee with swipe cards,” said McClintock.

When asked if the administration would have a problem with that Conley answered, “Yeah, we have a problem with that. The only people that have all access would be security and maintenance. ...The next step I think he'll want keys to all the doors then when people lock things in desks he's going to want  keys to all the desks. It's just something I feel that if we don't come to some agreement now on it, it'll just get ridiculous.”

"I made it clear to them, 'Look, if you want to you can come in every morning and you can run my entire staff against the accessed database, you can see every door we went in,'” said McClintock.

Conley said there are more parish office workers in the parish office building who deserve privacy.

"We have expressed our concern to him that we have several tenants in our building such as the sheriff's office, the DA's office, two justices of the peace, courts and other entities that come under other elected officials that I don't feel that we have the right to give them unfettered access to,” said Conley.

Conley said they support the IG and want to resolve the matter.

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