Proposed charter change would make Code Enforcement a city department; BGR supports the idea

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 8:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - On October 14, voters in New Orleans will decide a proposed charter change related to how the Division of Code Enforcement is structured in city government.

The Cantrell Administration says Code Enforcement currently falls under the chief administrative office, specifically, the Office of Business and External Services.

The proposed charter change would make Code Enforcement a standalone city department.

The Bureau of Government Research has come out in favor of the proposed charter amendment.

Stephen Stuart is BGR Vice President and Research Director.

“The current code enforcement operation is not well-positioned to manage the enormous task that it has,” said Stuart.

Stuart said the proposed change would be beneficial in several ways.

“The major benefits if Code Enforcement were its own department, it would have its own director, it would have great day-to-day administrative control and it would also have greater transparency from a budget standpoint and also from an operational standpoint; accountability would also increase,” said Stuart.

Thomas Mulligan is the director of Code Enforcement.

“This is a measure supported by the administration, introduced by the city council,” he said.

Resident Will Jones supports the idea.

“It should be its own department,” said Jones. “Yes, I will be voting yes, definitely.”

Resident Sharon King does not know yet how she will vote on the issue. She was unaware of the proposition until approached for comment by FOX 8.

“I would hope it would work. New Orleans does need the help as far as code enforcement but like everything you just have to see if it comes out,” said King.

Mulligan said, “It’s something we’ve tried to do internally as much as possible but this charter change will go a long way in giving us this standalone power and I think it’s probably the most important thing we can do as a city to fight blight.”

But even if the charter change passes, Stuart says that is not the final fix.

“This is the first step to making a more effective code enforcement operation. Once the department would take effect, you would have greater clarity on what budget it has, its overall staffing, and how it does its work. But then the city needs to take additional steps to make sure it has sufficient and stable funding,” said Stuart.

Also, the BGR supports a proposed property tax renewal for public school facilities in New Orleans and a proposition that would amend the city charter to give the city council more time to review the executive branch’s proposed operating and capital budgets for the following year.

More details on the BGR’s positions on the three propositions can be found at:

BGR Evaluates School Facilities Tax Renewal and Charter Amendments

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