The Jefferson Parish Ethics and Compliance Commission met for the first time June 13 and soon will begin its first major task: conducting a national search for the parish's first-ever inspector general. The commission consists of five members nominated by local universities and appointed by Parish President John Young.
Commission members include Dr. Warren Bourgeois III, William Chauvin, Maria Cisneros, Carroll Suggs and Kyle Marks.
The panel's first meeting was largely organizational. Members elected Suggs as interim chairwoman and assigned Chauvin the task of drafting proposed by-laws and operating procedures. One immediate challenge the commission faces is a lack of funding; it won't get any money from the parish until Jan. 1, 2013. Members will ask the parish for temporary office space as well as administrative and legal assistance until then.
The commission's next meeting is June 27. By then, commissioners hope to invite New Orleans IG Ed Quatrevaux to offer insights about how to select an IG and potential pitfalls in the organizational process.
Under the parish charter, the commission has broad authority. It can review, interpret, render advisory opinions on and enforce parish ordinances, rules, regulations and policies relating to the ethics and standards of conduct for everyone from parish employees and officials to people who receive public funds. The board also has jurisdiction over anyone who performs a parish governmental function, who does business with the parish, or who is in a position to influence the conduct of parish employees or officials.
Jefferson voters created the commission and the Office of Inspector General last year. — Clancy DuBos