NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The headline reads: “CITY INSPECTORS FAILED TO SHOW FOR INSPECTIONS,” on the top portion of the audit report from the New Orleans Office of Inspector General that was released on Thursday morning.

The shocking new report came out from the Inspector General’s Office directly. According to the audit report, officials claim that city inspectors are not doing their jobs to their full extent.

The audit report of the city’s inspectors claims they spent ten minutes or less checking some buildings and didn’t even show up for other inspections. Improperly performed inspections could lead to catastrophic and deadly situations. Some say it could have played a part in the Hard Rock Hotel’s collapse.

The audit covered all building, mechanical and electrical permit inspections conducted by city inspectors during the period of April 2019 through the end of march 2020. The objective was to see if city inspectors were following the policies and procedures and according to this audit report, they weren’t.
City inspectors need to follow the safety and permit policies and procedures to make sure corners are not cut and a building is safe before it’s signed off and passed an inspection.

The audit resulted in three major findings:

  • City inspectors did not perform in-person inspections for 20% of the inspections selected for review.
  • City inspectors did not spend adequate time conducting inspections, spending ten minutes or less for 40% of the inspections reviewed.
  • City inspectors did not upload required documentation into LAMA1 in violation of S&P policies and procedures.

WGNO crews reached out to the OIG for comment and got a response from John F. Lawson:

“The OIG’s audit report released this week shows that there is room for improvement within the Department of Safety and Permits, as also reflected in the department’s internal audit conducted last year. With that being said, the City has taken significant steps to make more explicit the requirements for all inspectors, including tightening its rules and regulations governing third party inspectors as well. The Department of Safety and Permits has clearly articulated its expectations and outlined actionable procedures if found in violation of City and departmental policies.  

The City is also currently in negotiation to supplement inspector positions to meet increased inspection requests both for permitting and enforcement. 

We are encouraged by the several bold initiatives underway to make public sector work more attractive and improve retention and hiring. These initiatives have already significantly improved this department’s ability to fill vacant positions, and we will continue to make forward progression in our efforts to enhance City services for our residents and businesses.”

Following the major issues, the inspector General’s Office outlined some ways the city inspectors could do better. Some ideas were adding GPS tracking in all vehicles driven by city inspectors and creating a checklist for the employees to use during inspections and upload to their systems.

Here is the full report.