Inspector General Resigns Amid Allegations of Wrongdoing!

With the credibility of the New Orleans IG office at stake, the usual calm that has pervaded that office is long gone, replaced with considerable confusion. I feel a deep sadness that Ed Quatrevaux, a man I have written about a lot over time favorably, has been forced to resign under duress. Any public office such as the Orleans IG office where infighting this toxic and bitter has been damaged. It’s reputation has been self-sullied. That hurts the IG office, since it’s reputation must be beyond reproach if the IG’s reports can be believed by the public it serves.

I have followed the IG career of Ed Quatrevaux and he seems a straight shooter above reproach. He has done the right thing through thick and thin to say the least. He stands tall among men in public service with the highest integrity, in my opinion. I don’t think he sold out as Schwartz has alleged. The opposite is probably the case.

Former IG head Ed Quatrevaux in happier times

A top deputy of Quatrevaux, Howard Schwartz, who has been named the interim replacement of the IG office, alleges corruption and mismanagement in the IG’s office. Quatrevaux has struck back, accusing Schwartz of a conflict of interest and showing extreme bias by essentially writing a false report damning Quatrevaux, in order to replace him at the top post. Quatrevaux says many of the IG office employees who spoke out against him have been coerced into speaking out against him by Schwartz. Nadiene Van Dyke, another top deputy of the office, was also pummeled in Schwartz’s report and is expected to retire in the near future.

New Orleans has been reborn several times throughout its recent history. That’s a good thing, keeping up with the times. But when the inspector general’s office falls under this degree of political intrigue, things are not good at all. It is frightening. Not this office under this political spotlight. This is a bad thing, have no doubt of it. Quatrevaux is probably innocent.

Nadiene Van Dyke

This very bitter infighting in the IG’s office is very surprising and was unheard of during Quatrevaux’s years running the office. The Ethics Review Board is standing behind Schwartz in this dispute. Other leaders are standing with Quatrevaux and his charge that Schwartz’s complaints are politically motivated- Schwartz is gunning for Quatrevaux’s job.

Ann Skeet, of the Markklula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University mentioned setups where one worker sabotages another’s chances through false accusations, as Quatrevaux accused Schwartz of doing to Van Dyke. It’s is word against another’s word, or he said and he or she said. According to City Councilman Jared Brosset, who said he authored the ordinance to separate the Independent Police Monitor’s Office from the IG Office precisely because of such infighting. Why would you release Swartz right before you are about to leave office yourself? He doesn’t want him to get the position. Skeet has also said with this much mud thrown against Quatrevaux some is bound to stick, regardless of the truth.

Skeet also said, the law might be changed to improve the rules for succession. The board might also, in the short term, consider sanctioning Quatrevaux for what appears to her to qualify as misconduct. At some point, the board might decide it needs to reset the culture in order to restore public trust. And they may decide that means bringing in somebody fresh or brand new, so no one can say that there was a taint or a hangover from whatever these decisions are.

Skeet also made some other telling statements. Skeet did say that at some point, the board might decide it needs to reset the culture in order to restore public trust. And that may decide that means bringing in somebody fresh or brand new, to no one can say that there was a taint of a hangover from whatever these decisions are. 

Susan Guidry, New Orleans City Councilman, however defended Quatrevaux and dismissed the idea that Schwartz should be appointed IG, though she did agree that Schwartz’s claims should be reviewed by a third party. Guidry said, I do not believe it is wise to appoint an interim inspector who is currently embroiled in controversy. Our current IG has saved our city millions over his tenure and I have no reason to question his judgement. I have to agree with Ms. Guidry here. He has been a fabulous, hard working IG for years.

Councilwoman Susan Guidry

Councilwoman Susan Guidry

A path forward might include revisions to city laws to give the ethics board more oversight of the offices activities, said Miller. Miller picked Schwartz for the interim post.

A local lawyer, David Marcello, has asked for serious changes on the board, said a peer review need to be completed every three years, with another review annually, to ensure the boards decisions are sound and not politically motivated. Marcello also said IGs need to write up succession plans regularly in advance.

Is Quatrevaux guilty as suggested? My gut feeling is will be vindicated. I think the evidence him is fabricated by Schwartz and his team. Time will tell. Good luck to Quatrevaux and his office.

~ by neworleansmusicman on October 22, 2017.

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