New Orleans voters approved a charter provision to establish an Office of Inspector General in 1996; ten years later, Councilmember Shelley Midura led a post-Katrina reform-minded City Council in creating the Office with the passage of City Code §2-1120.
The establishing legislation clearly delineates the purpose of the Office of Inspector General:
The purpose of this section is to establish a full-time program of oversight to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse, and to promote efficiency and effectiveness in city programs and operations. This oversight includes audits, criminal and administrative investigations, inspections and evaluations, and monitoring.
Guaranteeing operational independence from the legislative and executive branches of City government, the ordinance states that the OIG shall not be “prevented, impaired, or prohibited from initiating, carrying out, or completing any audit, investigation, inspection or performance review.”
The ordinance and the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans define the scope of the OIG’s oversight activities to include “all entities subject to the jurisdiction of the Office of Inspector General” and broadly delineate its jurisdiction to include all “entities of City government or entities receiving funds through the City.”
In 2008 a charter amendment established permanent funding for the OIG; the Office shall receive an annual appropriation from the Council of 0.55% of the City’s General Fund beginning in 2016.
Guaranteed funding, broadly defined scope and jurisdiction, and operational independence ensure the OIG’s ability to fulfill its mandate.