The ongoing discord between the offices of the New Orleans Inspector General (OIG) and Independent Police Monitor (IPM) seems to have come to an end. The offices agreed to bury the hatchet and operate independently from each other.
The New Orleans City Council stepped in to help end the quarrel when District D Councilman Jared Brossett announced plans to introduce an ordinance that would remove the IPM from the OIG's control. The offices announced their agreement before the measure's introduction on Oct. 15. The arrangement — now backed by the City Council as an amendment to the City Charter dedicating a piece of the general fund to the IPM separate from the OIG's dedication —likely will head to New Orleans voters next year. Meanwhile, Police Monitor Susan Hutson will move into a separate office by Dec. 31, 2015.
Hutson, who has served as IPM since 2010, has sought more independence from Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux, who budgets the IPM and sees the office as a branch of his own. Tensions between the offices boiled over after Quatrevaux's September letter to the Ethics Review Board calling for Hutson's firing. In the letter, Quatrevaux alleged Hutson engaged in "ethical misconduct" and "unprofessional conduct" and "failed to relate effectively with law enforcement."
"Mr. Quatrevaux wants to silence true police oversight for personal relationships. I have not allowed that," Hutson said in her response last month. "Mr. Quatrevaux is aware that I intend to seek legal independence for the [IPM] and he has made this move to thwart that effort."
In their agreement, announced Oct. 14, Hutson will receive an office budget of .16 percent of the city's general fund budget while the ERB and OIG will share .59 percent of the city's general fund budget. One City Hall source said that split is what Quatrevaux offered Hutson earlier this year as a proposed compromise.
The OIG also rescinded Quatrevaux's request to terminate Hutson, and the two agreed to "respect one another's mandate and refrain from publicly criticizing or commenting on one another except as it pertains to the respective missions and official duties of each entity regarding NOPD." —ALEX WOODWARD
IPM Susan Hutson will keep her job, and at the end of the year she'll move out of the IG department and into her own office with her own budget.
Photo by Cheryl Gerber