NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The New Orleans Office of the Inspector General has concluded its investigation into allegations against former Orleans Parish Communications District Executive Director Tyrell Morris.
After his announcement, Councilwoman-at-large Helena Moreno penned a letter to OPCD Chairman John Thomas, calling for Morris’ immediate suspension.
“According to numerous media reports, Director Morris is under investigation for his alleged actions following a car accident in his publicly funded OPCD vehicle. There are questions regarding Mr. Morris’ failure to submit a required drug and alcohol screening and to obtain a police report, and according to metadata, altering an official OPCD Vehicle Policy to make it appear he was not required to get screened for drugs and alcohol after a qualifying accident. Injuring public records is a crime under LA RS 14:132,” she said.
Later, Moreno and Councilmember Jim Morrell penned a second letter, this time requesting a report on the OPCD’s investigation into the allegations.
“We have learned through media reports that you have conducted your own internal investigation, separate from the Inspector General (IG), into allegations Director Tyrell Morris injured public documents after wrecking his publicly funded vehicle. As the legislative body that appropriates City funding to the Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD), we are requesting that the City Council receive a report on your investigation and findings.”
The letter continued, “The OPCD is too important to protect one individual for personal or political purposes. As you are aware, there is also a lengthy list of previously questionable practices by Director Morris which were recently brought to light in an IG report. We believe you must take swift action to save the District from additional damage and work quickly to find new leadership.”
On Nov. 16, the OIG released the findings of its investigation into the allegations.
“On May 7, 2023, then Executive Director Tyrell Morris, OPCD, was involved in a vehicle accident while operating an OPCD vehicle. Based on the OIG’s review of evidence obtained during the investigation, Morris may have altered and then deleted SOP 1.3.1. Further review of evidence also indicate that Morris may have caused the filing of a false insurance claim and defense in connection with this automobile accident.”
The full report
In response, the OIG recommended the OPCD take the following actions:
- OPCD should review all of its policies to determine if they require updating and or revision.
- OPCD should implement employee controls on its policies and should update the titles accordingly. SOP 1.3.1 was erroneously titled and appears to have been altered by the former OPCD Executive Director. The OPCD should establish a review process for policies to ensure they are properly titled, complete, and have not been revised without an approval process.
- The OPCD policies regarding vehicle accidents should closely mirror the City Accident Policy for vehicles, which is a well-established protocol.
Under the new leadership of OPCD Interim Executive Director Karl Fasold, the organization responded, “As of November 1st, and reported to the city council, all policies have been reviewed and revised as necessary by an internal policy working group, consisting of all the Department Leads and the Deputy Executive Director, and are in their final implementation process. All policies will be reviewed by the group annually with Human Resources and OPCD legal counsel as well as all reviewed by an outside party.”
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