Voters in Orleans Parish overwhelming approved a change to the home rule charter, making the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the Ethics Review Board three distinct, autonomous entities with independent revenue streams in the Nov. 8 election, with 71 percent of voters approving the charter change.
The Office of the Inspector General and the Independent Police Monitor have been separate for a little more than a year after OIG Ed Quatrevaux and IPM Susan Hutson signed an agreement to split their offices. Tensions between the two had reached a boiling point, with Quatrevaux calling for Hutson’s removal from her post and Hutson contending that Quatrevaux had undermined the her ability to perform her duties as IPM by controlling purse strings and attempting to suppress reports.
“It has been a long journey to independence for the Police Monitor’s Office,” said Hutson. “Thank you to the people of New Orleans. “We are awed by the New Orleans electorate’s support and faith in the OIPM. Thank you to our supporters on New Orleans City Council, the Ethics Review Board, and the Office of Inspector General along with faith leaders, civic and neighborhood organizations, news organizations, community leaders and stakeholders across the city that supported this charter amendment. We take your mandate seriously and we will continue to work hard each day to meet New Orleanians high expectations.”
In a printed statement also read:
“The voters of New Orleans have corrected a crippling structural flaw in the original charter amendment establishing the Office of Police Monitor, Ethics Review Board and Office of Inspector General by approving this new charter amendment allowing for independent operational and financial structures for each ethics entity. . . Most importantly, the OIPM will be able to fulfill its mandate and provide the level of law enforcement oversight that is essential to building the trust and confidence that the NOPD needs to be effective and to maintaining our city’s huge investment in NOPD reform through the consent decree process.”
Last fall, Shortly after a story appeared in The New Orleans Tribune detailing the work of the office and Hutson’s claim that the IPM’s office lacked real independence, New Orleans City Councilman Jared Brossett introduced a resolution in support of severing the offices. Shortly thereafter, the two signed the agreement. And yesterday approval from voters for the charter change makes it official.