JP councilman wants to eliminate ethics officer position

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 6:22 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

METAIRIE, La. - Jefferson Parish government is now looking for a new ethics and compliance officer.

Kim Chatelain, the first person to serve in that position, recently took the job of first assistant to the new parish inspector general.

JP Councilman Mark Spears from Marerro says now is the time to eliminate the office and save the parish $200,000 a year.

"This department was put in place before you had an inspector general," said Spears. "Now we have an inspector general who has a full staff and we also still have the internal auditor, so I thought at this time, it made sense to do away with the position."

Spears is drafting an ordinance for the council's November meeting seeking to have the duties of the ethics and compliance officer transferred to the Parish Attorney's office.

Parish President John Young says the office does not duplicate, but compliments the work of the IG.

"Making sure we're in compliance with our own laws locally and our state and federal laws in terms of spending federal and state funds appropriately," said Young.

Young says eliminating the ethics and compliance officer would send the wrong signals at a time when the parish is trying to rebuild its image after the public corruption scandal involving the former Aaron Broussard administration.

"We've done a lot of good work in changing the culture and rebuilding the public's confidence and trust in parish government," said Young. "I don't think now is the time to downplay the need for an ethics and compliance officer.

"I know perception is one thing, but the Parish Attorney's office is doing the work, right now and they will continue to do it," said Spears. "No less transparency."

JP Inspector General David McClintock say's he's studying the issue, but at this point does not have an opinion on whether the ethics and compliance officer should be eliminated.

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