Jefferson Parish inspector general in power struggle over ordinance

Jefferson Parish inspector general in power struggle over ordinance
David McClintock has locked horns with the Jefferson Parish president over several issues. (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish inspector general is asking parish officials to back off of an ordinance which he says will unfairly rein in the power of an agency designed to ferret out problems in parish government.

But Jefferson Parish leaders have some concerns of their own, as a squabble continues.

In six years as Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock says he’s got a record to be proud of, issuing more than twenty reports uncovering waste.

"We were paying cell phone allowances to employees well in excess of what you can go out and buy a phone for," said McClintock.

But outgoing parish president Mike Yenni has some concerns, after a recently audit of email inquiries from the inspector general released after being requested by a councilmember.

“Just seeing some things that I don’t believe are parts of the investigation, I feel it’s voyeurism, they’re looking into some things that don’t have anything to do with investigations with some of the things I’ve seen,” said Yenni.

The inspector general says the audit reflects inquiries which are made through the normal course of investigations, and in most cases uncovered no fraud, and he says they should have never been made public.

“We found zero support for those allegations, and that entity doesn’t deserve the smear, because they didn’t do anything wrong, and for those reasons we try and keep the flow of information in house,” said McClintock.

Aside from trying to minimize the damage done by the release of the audit log, the Jefferson Parish inspector general is also trying to thwart an ordinance which he believes will emasculate his office.

"One of them would require a process that would push requests through the parish attorneys' office, who would determine what we get and dont get, which is problematic," said McClintock.

McClintock says he needs unfettered access to properly do his job, but Yenni disagrees.

"I don't really have a vote on it, but when this was done, the whole office was set up haphazardly, and every board and commission has some oversight by council," said Yenni.

Yenni says the inspector general has abused his budget, and declined free office space. But to maintain independence, McClintock said he needed space not tied to parish government. And he says his office expenses, have been approved by an ethics oversight board.

McClintock said he has told the ethics commission that he will curtail email searches, as he asks for assurances that the audit log of those email inquiries not be made public. He says the release of that information by parish officials was an injustice,

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