"Public office is a public trust."
New Orleans Inspector General
On December 20, 2018, the City of New Orleans Ethics Review Board appointed Derry Harper as Inspector General. On February 26, 2018, Mr. Harper assumed his role as the head of the Office of Inspector General, where he is responsible for promoting accountability and integrity in the operations of the City government using audits, investigations, inspections and evaluations designed to detect and deter fraud, waste, and abuse.
A 1979 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law, Mr. Harper brings to his new role as the City of New Orleans’ government watchdog nearly 40 years of public and private sector experience as an inspector general, a state and federal prosecutor, corporate attorney, and city attorney.
From 2002 to 2013 Mr. Harper served the citizens of Florida as an inspector general for three state agencies. In 2002, the Governor appointed him Chief Inspector General responsible for coordinating the audit and investigative activities of 17 executive branch agencies and promoting accountability and integrity throughout state government. In 2006 he joined Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s property and casualty insurer of last resort, as inspector general for audits and investigations. In 2007 Mr. Harper accepted the challenge of establishing an Office of Inspector General and Director of Compliance for the State University System Board of Governors, which was responsible for the state’s 11 public universities and their 300,000 students.
Mr. Harper began his professional career in 1979 as an Assistant District Attorney in Nashville, Tenn., where he was responsible for prosecuting individuals charged with violations of criminal law. In 1982 he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee where he prosecuted white collar fraud, including many cases investigated by inspectors general for federal agencies including Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and the Department of Transportation.
Mr. Harper is a 1976 graduate of Davidson College, where he was active in several student organizations, including the North Carolina Fellows Program, and as a member of the varsity track team. Upon graduation he became active in alumni activities and in 1992 was elected President of the Davidson College Alumni Association. Subsequently he served two terms on the College’s Board of Trustees. The father of four sons, three grandsons, and one granddaughter, Mr. Harper was born in Senatobia, Miss., and grew up in Memphis, Tenn., the place he still calls home.
Mr. Harper’s vision for the Office of Inspector General is embodied in the words “enhance public trust” and its mission to “promote accountability and integrity throughout the operations of City government.” Mr. Harper believes it is not possible to accomplish that mission for the OIG or realize that vision without earning the trust of the citizens of the City of New Orleans by conducting all activities in adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct. He has stated, “To the members of the Office of Inspector General, accountability is not just a word, it’s what we do every day.”