Government Fleet Top News

New Orleans Municipal Court May Lose Take-Home Vehicles

January 20, 2011

NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Municipal Court's assignment of take-home vehicles to the Court's judges and clerk does not comply with City policy, according to a letter posted by Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux.

In the letter to Andy Kopplin, first deputy mayor and chief administrative officer, Quatrevaux referenced an August 2010 memo [CAO Policy Memorandum 5(R)], which applied to all licensed vehicles considered property of the City of New Orleans, including the vehicles assigned to the Municipal Court.

The memo stated: "Take-home vehicles will only be assigned to full-time City employees who need to respond to on-site, City business related incidences on a 24-hour basis. This criterion will not be considered to be attained by employees simply being available on a 24-hour basis. This provision will be considered to be attained when an employee is regularly and recurrently called out during an employee's non-traditional working hours to perform duties associated with that employee's duties and responsibilities."

Chief Judge Paul Sens, in a written response to the letter, argued the judges need the take-home vehicles, writing they have "been accorded the status of first responders relative to emergencies." Judge Sens described his role during Hurricane Katrina and the "extrajudicial" events he was able to effectively respond to as a result of having the take-home vehicle.

Quatrevaux wrote to Kopplin, stating the Court's reasoning for retaining the vehicles was not justified, as the judges and clerk do not "routinely respond to on-site City business-related incidences on a 24-hour basis as required by the CAO Policy Memorandum 5(R)" and therefore are in non-compliance with the requirements.

Quatrevaux recommended the City review the assignment of take-home vehicles to the Court and take appropriate action, according to the letter.

Read the letters by Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux and Chief Judge Paul Sens.


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