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The City of New Orleans and the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB;) have embarked on $2.4 billion of FEMA-funded infrastructure reconstruction projects in addition to ongoing road construction projects funded by other revenue sources. Many of these projects involve repairing and/or replacing components of the water supply system that may include pipes (service lines) that carry water from the water main to a residence/property.

In New Orleans an undetermined number of homes have service lines made of lead (Pb). Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin and no level of lead exposure is deemed safe. Lead service lines are the main contributor of lead in water at the tap. The S&WB does not have complete or accurate records of where lead service lines are located, and many older New Orleans homes may be serviced by lead service lines (LSLs).

Overall, evaluators conducting this follow-up found that the City improved its motor vehicle self-insurance program. However, the City did not fully implement all of the OIG’s recommendations; additionally, many recommendations were not addressed until almost four years after the publication of the original 2012 report. Specifically, the City:

  • began the process of hiring an in-house adjuster for automobile claims, which should result in increased efficiency and save the City nearly $100,000 per year;
  • resolved several issues related to contract management when it signed a contract with a new third-party claims administrator in 2012;
  • revised the vehicle use policy, CAO Memo 5(R), three times in 2016 and incorporated components of the State of Louisiana’s Driver Safety Program;
  • required city employees to complete a defensive driver training program prior to operating city vehicles; and
  • used crash data to identify high-risk drivers who had been in multiple crashes while driving city vehicles.

Evaluators reviewed Municipal Court funding between 2008 and 2015 and found that three entities were responsible for funding the Court (City, State, and Court), but the ambiguity of the legal framework failed to delineate clearly each entity’s responsibilities. The resulting financial practices raised numerous concerns regarding the transparency, accuracy, and legality of the Court’s funding structure.

The OIG recommended that the City fully fund Municipal Court operations through a General Fund appropriation, and the Court and the City should improve the transparency of their financial arrangements. In addition, the City should lobby the state legislature to repeal the laws that establish fees to fund Municipal Court.

The OIG found the City made improvements to its property and casualty insurance program since hiring a Risk Manager in June 2014. Specifically, the City:

  • secured an updated Insurance Commissioner Certification for property and flood insurance coverage to make sure that city properties would be eligible for future FEMA assistance;
  • corrected formatting problems and completed missing information on the list of insured properties identified in the original report; and
  • issued requests for proposals to solicit producer of record services that included cost and additional standards for comparing and evaluating proposer qualifications.

However, evaluators found the City did not develop a complete and accurate list of insured properties or obtain appraisals on any insured properties. Successful completion of these tasks could allow the City to achieve additional savings on insurance premiums.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, pedestrian crossing signals increase pedestrian safety. Yet 87 percent of signalized intersections in New Orleans did not have pedestrian crossing signals. A longstanding informal practice at the Department of Public Works (DPW) restricted the use of pedestrian signals, and decisions about when and where to install walk signals were based on a “gut call.”

The Office of the Inspector General of the City of New Orleans (OIG) conducted a follow-up to its 2013 report, “Inspection of City of New Orleans Fuel Receiving Controls.” The objective of the follow-up was to determine the extent to which the City implemented the report’s recommendations to improve the effectiveness of its fuel receiving controls. The scope of the follow-up included all fuel delivered to the City in 2015 and compensation received since 2013 for past overbilling. In addition, evaluators reviewed changes the City made to its fuel receiving processes since the original inspection.

Evaluators found that the City made significant improvements to its fuel receiving controls at automated sites and improved its invoice review process. However, the City continued to lack effective oversight of fuel delivered to non-automated sites.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an evaluation of the City’s fleet management program. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine if the City had effective policies and procedures in place to manage its fleet effectively and control the cost of fleet operations.

Evaluators examined the City’s fleet management practices from 2009 through 2014. In addition to reviewing the Equipment Maintenance Division’s fleet management practices, evaluators also reviewed fleet management practices in all city departments and some outside agencies to which the City provided fleet services.

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluated the funding of the Law Department, which provide in-house legal counsel for the City. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine taxpayer costs associated with the Law Department’s role in the New Orleans justice system, and to ascertain how the Mayor, the New Orleans City Council, and the Law Department allocated resources to achieve justice system-related performance goals.

The report is part of a series of reports about the funding of the criminal justice system.
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