New Orleans former city technology chief was fired from City Hall, according to a spokesman for Mayor Ray Nagin. The former chief named Anthony Jones was responsible for overseeing the crime camera program of the city.
This would serve as the final nail in the coffin for Jones who was already serving a 120-day suspension that started March 18. The suspension was a result of Jones filing false invoices to hide the fact that the camera program was showing a steep increase in the costs. Along with this, he intentionally violated contract requirements and accepted plane tickets to an out-of-state conference from a contractor that earned millions on the camera project.
These reports can be credited to recent audits that went on to discover that the crime camera program was beginning to fall through with increases in cost. After receiving these alleged misdeeds, the federal grand jury felt it necessary to investigate even more and interviewed Jones last month in relation to it.
Jones has stated that the program has been with its issues and glitches long before he was placed at the forefront of the technology office.
The crime camera program was made in order to monitor and serve as a deterrent for street crime. The city was under fire in 2008 when critics stated that the cameras were not accomplishing its purpose and were looking for justification for the reported $1.6 million that would be spent the following year on maintenance. That year, $7,500 had been spent for maintenance and upgrading each of the 240 cameras. City Council member Stacy Head indicated that it would cost far less to just buy and install a new camera making the $1.6 million an overpayment.
As a result of his suspension, Jones’ lawyer, Lionel Burns, has stated that he is owed compensation for the months that he was suspended along with compensation for being unjustly terminated. He has also stated that there was a link between his clients firing and a decision made by the Nagin administration to fire a team of technology experts. There were claims circulating that someone that had access to the city’s computer system was using it to remove messages sent and received by the mayor via e-mail.
He will be appearing in court on Thursday in front of the Civil Service Commission in order to make an appeal to his suspension.
Jones lost his position as chief technology officer last August when it was discovered that he lied about having a college degree. He would be demoted to director of City Hall’s management information systems.