Mayor Landrieu cuts number of boards and commissions - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Mayor Landrieu cuts number of boards and commissions

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Landrieu announces changes during afternoon press conference at City Hall. Landrieu announces changes during afternoon press conference at City Hall.

New Orleans, La. -- In advance of presenting his 2013 budget proposal, Mayor Mitch Landrieu is taking steps to shrink city government by reducing the number of boards and commissions created by the city.

"[It's] another step in the right direction that improves efficiency and is going to reduce the cost of government," Landrieu said during an afternoon press conference at City Hall.

Landrieu announced that he is eliminating 17 percent of the city's boards and commissions. That means 11 of the entities will be done away with and their responsibilities transferred to other agencies.

"In most of these instances we are not eliminating services, but just trying to find a better way to deliver them," continued Landrieu.

Landrieu was not able to give a firm amount on the savings that will result from the streamlining. But City Council members, who will be charged with approving a balanced budget for 2013 before year's end, applaud any amount of savings.

"When you're working on $40 million a year less in spending, this amount of money no matter how small is significant," said City Councilwoman-at-Large Jackie Clarkson.

One of the eliminated agencies is the scandal-plagued New Orleans Affordable Home Ownership agency, known as NOAH.

In 2008, NOAH's offices were raided by the feds and since then there have been a series of guilty pleas entered in federal court.  NOAH's remaining assets have been transferred to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).

"Untoward things happened... greater oversight is going to make sure that folks that are running those organizations don't do poor things, and secondly when you pull them under already organized and well-functioning organizations, the chances of that happening are much less," Landrieu stated when asked about the dismantling of NOAH.

"We've straightened out all the accounts and all the titles to property and transferred them to NORA, who will be disposing of them," said Brian Lawlor, the city's director of housing policy.

The Rivergate Development Corporation, which manages the property where Harrah's Casino sits, is also being eliminated.  Its responsibilities will be transferred to the Canal Street Development Corporation.

The Piazza D'Italia Development Corporation will also cease operations and its responsibilities will shift to the Canal Street Development Corporation.

"We are very happy to be a part of this merger and this consolidation," said Cynthia Connick, executive director of the Canal Street Development Corporation.

Some other agencies that will be eliminated are:

  • The Delgado Albania Plantation Commission;
  • Administrative and Enforcement Advisory Committee;
  • New Orleans Metropolitan Youth Commission;
  • Board of Electrical Examiners;
  • Board of Examiners of Operating Engineers;
  • Board of Mechanical Examiners;
  • Coastal Zone Management Advisory Committee;
  • Upper Pontalba Building Corporation.

Landrieu said there are 66 boards and commissions created by the city. That does not include boards and commissions in the city that were created by the state.

Landrieu said he is accomplishing the changes through executive authority. "We have a zero tolerance for wasting public money," Landrieu said.

Connick said the elimination of the Rivergate Development Corporation and the Piazza D'Italia Development Corporation will save $150,000.

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