NEW ORLEANS, LA — As part of the ongoing effort to create a leaner, more efficient City government, Mayor Mitch Landrieu today announced plans to eliminate 11 boards and commissions, representing a 17% decrease in boards created by the City. In total, 19 boards and commissions have undergone or will undergo changes since the Mayor took office.
“We are committed to a simple set of budgeting principles: cut smart, reorganize and invest to make the best use of our resources and create a more effective government that better serves our citizens,” Mayor Landrieu said. “We have to make smart choices about how we organize and staff these agencies in order to become more coordinated and effective.”
The reforms announced today continue the Mayor’s efforts to shrink the size of government. The Mayor has reduced City government spending by more than 8 percent compared to spending levels in 2009.
“Each budget year, we are doing more with less, so streamlining and becoming more efficient wherever we can is critically important,” said Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin.
There are 133 total boards and commissions in the City of New Orleans that satisfy some or all of the following characteristics: they were created by local or state law; they depend on City staff or mayoral appointments for some board members or administrators; they expend significant public funds; and they are regulated by public rules for their operation.
Of these 133, there are currently 66 boards and commissions created by the City of New Orleans. Streamlining the City’s boards and commissions has been a high priority for Mayor Landrieu. Earlier this year, the City reconstituted three boards to increase efficiency and eliminate waste.
In May, the Mayor announced the completion of the restructuring of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission, in order to create greater transparency and public trust. The new board structure provides for nine members with 4-year terms, rather than the previous structure of 16 members with 16 year terms. Additionally, appointments to the board now are made through recommendations of existing organizations, rather than through self-appointments as was previously the case. With the greater oversight brought about by the reorganization, the publicly owned and operated terminal switching railroad is now turning a profit.
The City reorganized the Municipal Yacht Harbor board by trimming it from 16 members to 9 members. The City also restructured the French Market Corporation board through a functional merger with the Upper Pontalba Building Corporation.
The work to simplify, restructure and make other necessary changes will be ongoing. The Mayor has identified other boards, such as the 13-member Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans for restructuring.
Boards identified for elimination are:
New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH) – The City previously dissolved the board for New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH), a post-Katrina housing program, and transferred NOAH’s remaining assets to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), the City’s blight-fighting agency. NORA works with public and private partners to redevelop and revitalize New Orleans neighborhoods.
Delgado Albania Plantation Commission – Originally formed to manage the Albania plantation and mill bequeathed to the City by Isaac Delgado, the six-member commission continues to operate the sugar plantation on Bayou Teche. The commission will be consolidated with the Board of City Trusts, an 11-member board that administers all money, moveable property, and revenue-producing immovable property either held by the City as trustee or held by the City for the perpetual care of City-owned cemeteries.
Administrative and Enforcement Advisory Committee – Created to serve as a liaison between the department of finance, the city council, the city alcoholic beverage control board, NOPD, and the state office of Alcoholic Beverage Control, this committee no longer meets. It has been replaced with a monthly meeting between various entities, including NOPD, Council staff, State ATC, Law Department, Revenue and the Mayor’s Office.
New Orleans Metropolitan Youth Commission – The long inactive commission, established in the 1950s, will be eliminated from the books.
Board of Electrical Examiners, Board of Examiners of Operating Engineers and Board of Mechanical Examiners – These three boards are no longer active. A non-profit industry organization now administers professional exams for these fields.
Coastal Zone Management Advisory Committee – This board, created by executive order, was recently eliminated.
Boards that will be merged with existing boards are:
Rivergate Development Corporation (RDC) and Piazza D’Italia Development Corporation (PDDC) – The nine-member RDC manages the Harrah’s casino property at the site of the former Rivergate complex. The seven-member PDDC oversees the Piazza D’Italia public space at Lafayette and Commerce Streets and an adjacent parking lot. Both boards will be eliminated and their responsibilities transferred to the Canal Street Development Corporation (CSDC). The CSDC oversees the redevelopment of the Saenger Theatre, parking lots, hotel development and adaptive reuse of other historic properties on Canal Street. It comprises seven members appointed by the Mayor, including two Councilmembers. The CSDC, RDC and PDDC currently share an administrative staff. The CSDC currently has seven members appointed by the mayor, two of whom are Councilmembers.
Upper Pontalba Building Corporation – The seven-member board, which includes two Councilmembers, currently oversees the Upper Pontalba Building, a four-story residential and commercial space facility located in the French Quarter. It will be eliminated and its responsibilities transferred to The French Market Corporation (FMC), which oversees French Market properties, including the Flea Market and Farmer’s Market. The board comprises 12 members appointed by the Mayor, including three Councilmembers. Currently, the two boards have overlapping membership.
To keep residents informed and increase transparency, the City will place information on about all active boards and commissions on http://new.nola.gov/boards as well. The information will include their purpose, contact information, composition, appointing authority, and the enabling executive order, municipal code, or state law.