Legal Origins and Evolution of Local Ethics Reform in New Orleans
32 New England Journal of Public Policy (2020)
24 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020
Date Written: 2020
New Orleans embraced ethics reform haltingly over three decades. Reforms rooted in a 1994-95 Home Rule Charter revision process lay dormant until Hurricane Katrina upended the physical and political landscape in 2005, provoking establishment of an Ethics Review Board (ERB), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and Office of Independent Police Monitor (OIPM). Progress continued thereafter, but again haltingly, requiring multiple entreaties by ethics advocates—to the city council for implementing ordinances, to the state legislature for enabling statutes, and back to the voters for further Home Rule Charter changes.
The earliest battle in implementing ethics reform was fought over new procedures for awarding professional services contracts. Procurement of professional services remained a hotbed of contention between reformers and elected officials during the tenure of subsequent mayors and city council members.
In concluding, the article attempts a typology describing four different attitudes toward the rule of law: disciples, who adhere rigorously to rule of law principles; subversives, who pose an existential threat through their lack of respect for systems that sustain the rule of law; and intermediate actors, who exert a compromising but not cataclysmic effect when they personalize the rule of law or parse it through an aggressively legalistic frame.
Keywords: charter revision, ethics reform, ethics review board, office of inspector general, office of independent police monitor, procurement of professional services, rule of law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation