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Brendan McCarthy / Eyewitness News
Email: bmccarthy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @bmccarthyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux released a report this evening critical of City Hall's management of city vehicles and insurance program.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General found that the city overpaid on contracts, could have saved $100,000 by doing some of the work in-house, and failed to properly manage the contracting process.

The inspector general's evaluation focused on the city's motor vehicle self-insurance program and other aspects of its vehicle use policy. Investigators looked at records and data from 2007 through 2011. That spans the administrations of former Mayor Ray Nagin and current Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The inspector general's office determined that the city could have saved about $100,000 per year had the city done its own vehicle claims. City Hall contracts with an outside company to review claims, investigate accidents and negotiate settlements.

Quatrevaux's office also found that City Hall failed to adequately monitor employee driving or safety records. The city didn't require safety training for drivers and also didn't make sure city employees with take-home vehicles had proper insurance.

The city has about 1,900 vehicles, according to the report. The police department lays claim to about 60 percent of those cars. The fire department has about 6 percent, followed by Parks and Parkways and Emergency Medical Services.

In order to remedy these issues, the inspector general's office recommends the city handle its own vehicle claims, or negotiate a better contract. City Hall should also tighten its policies and adopt better practices.

Landrieu's office, in a response to Quatrevaux included in Quatrevaux's report, took issue with aspects of the probe. For example, Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin noted that the inspector general's analysis didn't factor in the costs of administrative support.

Kopplin wrote that the city saved $10,000 when it entered a new contract regarding automobile claims. Kopplin, who also serves as Landrieu's chief administrative officer, noted that the administration was not involved in the in soliciting the 2008 and 2009 contracts.

Further, Kopplin claimed that the failure to monitor city driver records applies only to employees not in public safety departments such as police and fire. Thus, this represents only a small portion of city employees.

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