During his second full year in office, Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock intends to audit the parish government’s contracts, travel expenses, cash transactions and the use and cost of credit and debit cards, he said in an annual report released this week.
Issues related to the awarding and management of contracts in Jefferson have been a hot-button topic, with some critics arguing that parish policies have allowed council members to reward campaign contributors with government work.
In identifying “high-risk areas for audit coverage,” McClintock said, he and his staff relied in part on discussions with Parish President John Young’s administration, a review of annual budgets and financial reports, and information from Jefferson’s Finance Department.
Other areas of parish government McClintock’s office intends to review include grants and funding, the use of cars and other movable property, accounting and payroll, utilities billing and the process of acquiring things such as professional services and equipment.
McClintock’s report, released this week, came after the conclusion of his first full calendar year in office since being hired in March 2013. He has faced criticism from some Parish Council members for taking longer than he forecast to begin issuing reports on investigations and audits into government operations.
In his report, McClintock pointed out that it wasn’t until 2014 that his office reached full staffing, moved into its completed working space at 5401 Jefferson Highway and selected a case management system.
Aside from issuing four reports last year, McClintock said, his office saw an increase in the complaints it “logged” because they were deemed to have sufficient information backing them. There were 54 logged complaints in 2014, up from 32 in 2013, he said.
Of those complaints, in 2014, 28 were generated externally, or from outside parish government. In 2013, 14 were generated externally, he said.
McClintock also reported “a substantial increase” in complaints generated by his own staff, from two in 2013 to seven in 2014.
“While the overall numbers appear low, self-generated complaints reflect an increasing level of review concerning parish practices, policies and actions” by his staff, he said.
McClintock said 22 complaints from 2014 remain open and 28 are considered closed.
“The ratio of open and closed complaints ... reflects the long-term nature of many inquiries,” he said. “It is believed that the institution of case management ... will assist in decreasing the level of open complaints for the next (annual report).”
McClintock and the parish Ethics and Compliance Commission he chairs recently asked the Parish Council to amend the ordinance governing operations of the Inspector General’s Office.
One proposed amendment would bring parish law in line with a state statute that makes it a misdemeanor for officials to leak privileged or confidential information gathered by the inspector general. Another amendment would prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of IG reports that aren’t yet finalized. A third amendment would remove representatives of the state Supreme Court and the Association of Inspectors General from sitting on a committee that evaluates the quality of the work done by McClintock’s office.
“I hope that you will consider sponsoring this legislation at the earliest opportunity,” McClintock wrote in an email to Parish Council President Chris Roberts on March 20.