Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cerasoli Unloads

Posted By on Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 9:40 PM

By: Allen Johnson


After six months of fighting City Hall for offices, money and staff, new Inspector General Robert Cerasoli bristled when a reporter told him that even some local supporters are getting impatient for signs of progress from New Orleans’ newest watchdog. “Can I tell you something?” said Cerasoli, a former state inspector general from his native Massachusetts. “I don’t need this job. If people get impatient and they want me to leave, so be it — I could care less. I’m here to do a job and if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it. That’s the way that I look at it. That’s the difference between me and the other people who are here; I’m not going to be bullied into doing the wrong thing.” He also said fighting City Hall is not easy — even from the inside. Even placing newspaper ads for staff positions can be a major headache. After receiving an invoice from Gambit Weekly, for example, Cerasoli said he returned to City Hall to learn that the $3.4 million operating budget for his office had not been entered into the city’s computer system. “So, we can’t get anything paid,” he said. He said the only person who could load the IG’s budget into the city system told him that she could only tackle the task “on nights and weekends” because the system did not have the capacity to handle so much information during the day. “This is the kind of stuff that I go through,” Cerasoli said. “There’s a lot of entrenched incompetence, and there’s a lot of people who just don’t want me to do anything anyway. I’m going to do the job the way I know how to do the job. If people are dissatisfied, just tell me and I’ll leave. It’s not a problem at all.”

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