by Kevin Allman
I just got off the phone with Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University and chairman of the Ethics Review Board of New Orleans. Here's his official statement on the resignation of Robert Cerasoli:
January 30, 2009
For personal reasons of health, Robert A. Cerasoli has resigned as the Inspector General for the City of New Orleans. On behalf of myself and the other members of the New Orleans Ethics Review Board, we are profoundly grateful to Bob for his tireless work in establishing this office, hiring outstanding staff, and moving the office forward.
Bobs pioneering work in the establishment of this office has made a lasting contribution to the quality of life for all citizens of New Orleans. We are most fortunate to have had such an experienced man with such high standards of integrity to serve as the citys first inspector general. We respect Bobs decision and his right to privacy with regard to medical matters. That said, we wish him well in his continued medical treatment and pray for his speedy and complete recovery.
As chairman of the Ethics Review Board, I am authorized to appoint an interim inspector general from among senior staff in the office. (See City Code, Chapter 2, Article XIII, Section 9-1120 entitled "Office of Inspector General, #3 Appointment.)
I have asked Leonard C. Odom, First Assistant for Criminal Investigations, to serve as interim inspector general. Leonard's career as an inspector general is long and distinguished.
He has more than 30 years of experience in management; income tax and internal affairs investigations; knowledge of financial, performance and compliance audits; fraud, political corruption and contractor fraud investigations; internal safety and security; ethics programs and general investigations.
Leonard is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Inspectors General and has served as its president for the past two years. Previously, he has served as Inspector General for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA); Regional Inspector General of Investigations for the U.S. Department of Treasury; and Assistant Chief, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most recently, he served in the Inspector Generals Office of Washington, D.C. as Assistant Inspector General for Investigations.
The New Orleans Ethics Review Board will begin a national search immediately to fill the position of City Inspector General. As the ordinance specifies, we will only consider someone who is a Certified Inspector General.
We are confident that the sound foundation built by Bob Cerasoli will be capably administered by Interim Inspector General Leonard Odom, and that the transition in the continuing operations of the Office of Inspector General will be seamless.