Legislative Advocacy - Special & Regular Sessions of the State Legislature
Citizens for 1 Executive Committee Member, Elizabeth Nalty was invited to address and to serve on Governor Elect Bobby Jindal’s Advisory Council on Ethics - November 15, 2007.
Citizens for 1 lobbied for ethics reform legislation in the special session of the state legislature in the spring of 2008 supporting the Governor’s Ethics Reform package with LAEthics1 and specifically HB 80 which provides certain investigative and subpoena powers of a local ethics entity, local ethics review board, or office of inspector general in certain home rule municipalities and SB 56 which created the office of Inspector General in statute.
Major pieces of legislation passed during special session (Governor’s Office website)
HB1 financial disclosure; SB1 prohibits contracts between state government and legislators and executive branch leaders; SB3 eliminates loophole for free cultural and sporting event tickets for elected officials; SB 8 caps food and beverages for public servants at $50; HB 56 creates the office of Inspector General in statute; HB 8 expands whistleblower protection.
Citizens for 1 applauded passage of the Ethics Reform legislation as signaling a new day for the state. “We applaud the leadership of the Governor and the forward thinking and determined citizens and elected officials who pushed for these vitally important ethics reforms — the keys to honest, open and responsible government. They made history happen and paved the way for a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. Ruthie Frierson, Chairman
Establishment of Inspector General’s Office and Ethics Review Board
In 1995 a city ordinance provided for the creation of the Ethics Review Board and the Office of Inspector General. Through actions of the Mayor and City Council, the first Ethics Review Board was named in January 2007 and its members were Reverend Kevin Wildes; Professor Katherine Lorio; Dean Winston Brown; Elizabeth S. Nalty; Dean Beverly Favre; Mrs. Leah Chase; Reverend Cornelius Tilton. Six months later the ERB hired New Orleans’ first Inspector General Robert Cerasoli. In 2009, the ERB hired Ed Quatrevaux as Inspector General and the new Independent Police Monitor, Susan Hutson. Newly elected mayor Mitch Landrieu pledged that there would be a close working relationship between the IG’s office and the mayor’s office in the spring of 2010.
Citizens for 1 strongly supported the establishment of the Inspector General’s Office and the Ethics Review Board. Robert Cerasoli was approved as Inspector General by the New Orleans City Council in September of 2007.
Citizens for 1 spoke in support of full funding of the Inspector Generals’ office for 3.2 million at the City Council Budget Hearing in November 2007.
City Charter Change for Inspector General and Independent Police Monitor
Citizens for 1 worked with Common Good and many civic groups and neighborhood associations to promote a city charter change to establish an Independent Police Monitor in the office of the Inspector General and a dedicated source of revenue for IG’s office October 4th, 2008. The message was:
“Government waste and corruption is hurting New Orleans. A permanent, nonpolitical and independent Inspector General is needed to root out “waste, fraud and abuse” throughout city government and to make the police department trusted and accountable. This will improve the quality of local public services, make law enforcement more effective, and save taxpayers money.”
The charter change won by a wide margin of voters.
Community Forums and Support for Inspector General’s Office
Citizens for 1 hosted a forum on Ethics in Public Service featuring Inspector General Robert Cerasoli with Loyola University and Common Good and other community organizations at Loyola University on November 27, 2007.
Citizens for 1 and Common Good sponsored a community meeting featuring IG Robert Cerasoli at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church on March 5, 2008.
Citizens for 1 prepared and organized a statement of support by numerous civic organizations in support of the work of the Inspector General’s office, which was published in December 2009.
Citizens for 1 and Xavier University, and Loyola University sponsored The Inspector General’s Community Forum on May 11, 2010 at Xavier University with 26 civic and good government organizations. Featured speakers were Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux, Councilman Arnie Fielkow, Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson, US Attorney Jim Letten, and Reverend Cornelius Tilton with the Ethics Review Board. Xavier President Norman Francis introduced newly elected Mayor Mitch Landrieu who announced his strong support for the Office of the Inspector General. Media headlines of the event read: Landrieu pledges new relationship between the IG’s office and the Mayor’s office; IG encourages community involvement; Landrieu promises NOPD cooperation with the Police Monitor.