Friday, December 2, 2011

City Inspector General: The "matter is closed" on NOPD Chief paperwork issue

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM

New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux on Nov. 30 released a letter to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, which cleared New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas of falsifying his pension paperwork. The letter was a response to a Nov. 21 investigation by Fox 8, which found a number of apparent inconsistencies in the documents.

The letter responded to three "allegations":

1. That Serpas dated forms stating that his starting employment date was 05/06/2010 even though his actual starting date was 05/10/2010, in order to qualify for additional pension benefits;

2. That Serpas started getting paid by the City on 05/06/2010 even though he did not actually start working until 05/10/2010;

3. That Serpas and Assistant City Attorney Victor Papai signed and notarized the above referenced document on 05/06/2010 even though Chief Serpas was in Nashville, Tennessee on that date.

But the IG's responses to numbers 1 and 2 didn't really address the allegations in the news report, as only Fox 8 itself and Gambit seemed to notice. Quatrevaux has sent a letter of clarification to Gambit.

(IG's clarification after the jump)

First, the problems with the first letter.

The response to number 1 starts with "Chief Serpas signed the forms on 05/06/2010 and first reported for duty on 05/10/2010." But Serpas didn't sign anything on May 6, 2010. He was still in Nashville.

Furthermore, in response to the assertion, made in the news report, that someone MIGHT have falsified the date to get Serpas in the pension system before his 50th birthday, May 9, 2010. The IG responds that the date was "meaningless." Serpas, who had served with NOPD before, was already enrolled.

True, but it doesn't address whether someone, perhaps unaware of the pointlessness, was trying anyway.

As to number 2: The actual allegation made in the report was that Serpas started getting paid on May 10, when he was still serving as chief and getting paid in Nashville. No one, so far as I know, said he started getting paid in New Orleans on May 6.

I put these questions to Quatrevaux, and his office just emailed a response.

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