NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, the City of New Orleans announced that its Blight Reduction Strategy has been named a 2012 Bright Idea in Government by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The Bright Ideas initiative is designed to recognize and promote creative government initiatives and partnerships and create an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared, and disseminated.
“We are thrilled that our aggressive blight reduction strategy is being recognized on a national stage,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “When I came into office, I knew we needed a better way to track data on blight progress to ensure we were actually achieving results. BlightStat is one way we’re making that happen. And this award is an acknowledgement that the work is paying off.”
Nearly two years ago, Mayor Landrieu announced a new, aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing the blight count in New Orleans by 10,000 properties by 2014. A recent study released by The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center showed that blighted properties have been reduced by by approximately 8,000 addresses since 2010. The study attributed the reduction in part to the focused efforts of City agencies to bring properties into compliance.
The City’s Blight Reduction Strategy aims to significantly reduce blighted properties by prioritizing aggressive code enforcement and code lien foreclosure sales. The BlightStat public performance management system aggressively manages and tracks the benchmarks outlined in the strategy. In these public meetings, senior staff meets with front-line department heads and program managers to discuss progress in meeting goals through the analysis of performance metrics. These are working meetings, intended to provoke constructive dialogue on what’s working, what’s not, and what the various City departments and agencies need to do to improve.
“This is a strategy that only works with a dedicated staff and ongoing community partnerships,” said First Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin. “I want to congratulate and thank Jeff Hebert, Oliver Wise and the whole team who are out on the front line fighting blight in this city every day.”
Additionally, the City’s Blight Reduction Strategy was awarded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award at the 2012 Council on Philanthropy Conference for its public-philanthropic partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and the Center for Community Progress (CCP). Through this partnership, New Orleans is developing a national model for dealing with blight. Cities from across Louisiana and the country are working to replicate the success of New Orleans.
Jeff Hebert, Executive Director, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and Oliver Wise, Director, Office of Performance and Accountability, City of New Orleans are 2012 recipients of the Innovation Award from the Bureau of Governmental Research. The Innovation Award recognizes employees who have used innovative solutions to solve pressing problems.
The BlightStat program, along with QualityofLifeStat, ReqtoCheckStat and BottomlineStat are examples of Mayor Landrieu’s commitment to accountability, transparency, and data-driven management. Coupled with the quarterly ResultsNOLA report cards for City departments’ key performance indicators, the Landrieu administration is implementing performance management initiatives designed to improve results to citizens.
To learn more, visit the website of the Office of Performance and Accountability, the team created by Mayor Landrieu to implement a performance management system in City Hall: www.nola.gov/opa.
Link to full Bright Ideas Program Descriptions: