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New Orleans Inspector General Derry Harper to retire amid discussions to fire him

Ethics Review Board Chair Person Michael Cowan said on Wednesday the board could have made a decision to fire him or keep him as soon as next week.
Credit: The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
Members of the Cty of New Orleans Ethics Review Board question then Inspector General candidate Derry Harper at Xavier University in New Orleans on December 20, 2017.

NEW ORLEANS — A week after members of the Ethics Review Board met to discuss the performance of the New Orleans Inspector General Derry Harper in a three-hour executive session that was closed to public view, Harper announced his resignation from the position of inspector general Friday.

Effective Oct. 31, Harper's resignation was announced to the Ethics Review Board in an informal email. The Ethics Review Board, which has the authority to fire Harper and hire a replacement, received complaints about Harper's oversight.

In the email, Harper said he decided to retire to spend more time with his family after 41 years as an attorney and public servant.

Discussions to fire Harper began after independent reviews found that his first and second year on the job used more money while investigating less, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate reported Wednesday.

Ethics Review Board Chair Person Michael Cowan told The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate on Wednesday the board could have made a decision to fire him or keep him as soon as next week.

Harper's productivity was criticized by an oversight panel after he published only two reviews in his first year, one that dinged city employees for receiving free Jazz Fest tickets and another that focused on fake handicapped-parking tags created by Sewerage & Water Board employees.

Despite Harper updating the board on his work, "we remain concerned about productivity," Cowan said.

Harper said on Wednesday that judgment of his track record  “should be based (both) on productivity and quality” of work produced, saying he was unaware the board would go public with its concerns this soon.

Wednesday, he said he'd have more to say on his track record later.

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This is a developing story, and it will be updated with the latest information available. Stick with WWLTV.com for the latest news.

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