March 17, 2011
City Council Chamber
City Council March 17,2011 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - March 17, 2011 - Today, the New Orleans City Council received a presentation from the United States Department of Justice on a report conducted on the New Orleans Police Department. By motion, the Council authorized the Superintendent of Police to restructure the NOPD's upper ranks.
The Council also passed an ordinance to allow an Intergovernmental Agreement to be entered into with the State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. A resolution was passed in support of the Woodlands Conservancy's Greenway Corridor project. A presentation on Citizen Participation in government was made by officials from the City of Birmingham. The City Council passed a resolution approving the annual Corporate Community Support Grants Program.
And, the City Council congratulated the 2011 St. Augustine Purple Knights State Championship winning basketball team.
Supported NOPD Restructured Pay PlanThe Council passed Motion M-11-134, authored by Councilmembers Fielkow, Head, Hedge-Morrell and Clarkson, to amend the Classified Pay Plan. The motion allows the Superintendent of Police to restructure the NOPD's upper ranks, allowing for the appointment of 16 commanders to lead the Police Department's eight police districts and divisions. The Council's action clears the last hurdle to implementation of the new police pay plan for high ranking police commanders. Councilmembers want to give the Police Superintendent every opportunity to restructure and reform his Department to ensure its future success.
Received U.S. Justice Department Report on NOPD
The U.S. Department of Justice representatives, Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, and Kristi Lopez, Deputy Chief, Special Litigation Section, accompanied by City Attorney Nannette Jolivette-Brown and Michael Sherman, Director of the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Relations, presented a report on the New Orleans Police Department. The report was requested last spring by Mayor Landrieu, on the NOPD's patterns and practices.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "As Co-Chair of the Council's Criminal Justice Committee, I know the strong commitment of this Council to ensure that we have a police department that works for every citizen. The Council pledges to continue collaborative work with the Mayor, the Superintendent and the Criminal Justice stakeholders to reform NOPD and make our city safe."
Co-Chair of Criminal Justice Committee, Council Vice-President Clarkson said, "The most important piece, and what I hope citizens are hearing, is that this report was met with "No Push-back." The Mayor invited the Department of Justice to conduct this report, and the department received a welcome mat, cooperation, and inclusion by our Chief of Police and all the departments."
Supported Flood Protection
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar Number 28,328, authored by Councilmember Johnson, authorizing Mayor Landrieu to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the State of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority ("CPRA"). The agreement is relative to the construction of shoreline protection along the Lake Borgne shoreline between Bayou Bienvenue and Alligator Point. Coastal Impact Assistance Program ("CIAP") funds and City match funds will construct the "Orleans Landbridge Shoreline Protection and Marsh Creation Project" for the building of shoreline protection along Lake Borgne.
District "E" Councilmember Johnson said, "Flood protection is a paramount public safety priority. We must continue to work through advocacy, legislation and intergovernmental partnerships to ensure that coastal protection and restoration issues receive the attention that other government issues like crime, education and public works do."
Authorized Community Grants Program
The Council passed Resolution R-11-136, authored by Councilmembers Fielkow, Clarkson, Head, Guidry, Gisleson-Palmer, Johnson and Hedge-Morrell, approving the City Council/Harrah's Community Support Grants Program grant from grant funds. This agreement provides a total of $225,000 to be funded to the program semi-annually. Its purpose is to foster organizations and projects that contribute to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of the city.
District "B" Councilmember Head said, "We appreciate and will continue to foster corporate citizenship. These grants will assist and sustain eligible non-profits that serve and directly impact our citizens in a variety of areas from healthcare and education to cultural development."
Supported Woodlands Conservancy's Greenway Corridor
At the request of Councilmember Gisleson-Palmer, the Council recognized Katie Brasted and passed Resolution R-11-132, authored by Councilmember Gisleson-Palmer, in support of the Woodlands Conservancy's Greenway Corridor Project. Submitted for Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds, this project ensures the continuity of migratory bird habitats and recreational opportunities. The Woodlands Conservancy's Greenway Corridor project advocates for ecotourism and development of onsite interpretive programs to educate others on the project's value for mitigation for natural resource impacts, storm retention, water quality, recreation and habitat for wildlife and neotropical migratory birds.
District "C" Councilmember Palmer said, "The Council fully supports making green space and the environment a legislative priority. New Orleans and Algiers has an important recreation and economic asset that few urban centers have. Our wetlands within the city limits are a natural resource that must be recognized, preserved and protected."
Focused on Citizen Participation
At the request of Councilmember Clarkson, the Council recognized Birmingham's former Mayor, Bernard Kincaid; Birmingham District 3 Councilmember, Valerie Abbot; and Director of the Mayor's Office of Citizen Assistance, Don Lupo, to make a presentation on citizen participation in Birmingham, Alabama. The City of New Orleans adopts its own Citizen Participation Program (CPP) this summer, as mandated by the Unified New Orleans Plan, the November 2008 City Charter Amendment and the Master Plan. The CPP creates the opportunity for New Orleans citizens to engage in city government policy-setting and decision-making.
Council Vice-President Clarkson said, "As mandated in our Master Plan with the Force of Law, passed by a majority vote of the people to be a part of our charter, we are required to have a Comprehensive Zoning Code and a Neighborhood Participation Plan. Both of these are in progress as we speak, so we are grateful for input from other comparable cities that have done this so we may benefit from their valuable experience."
Congratulated St. Augustine Purple Knights Championship Basketball Team
The 2011 St. Augustine Purple Knights Basketball Team received a proclamation from the City Council for winning the 2011 Class 5A State Championship over Scotlandville in the Cajundome on March 12. Led by Athletic Director and Head Coach, Cliff Barthe, the St. Augustine Basketball Team consists of 16 young athletes. Councilmember Arnie Fielkow presented the proclamation on behalf of the Council, praising the Purple Knights for their hard work and dedication to their team, school and community. The Purple Knights were lauded for underscoring the importance of honor, loyalty, respect and diligence.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "The City Council congratulates the 2011 St. Augustine basketball team for their hard work, dedication and true leadership. Thank you for being outstanding role models for high school students in New Orleans and the Metropolitan area."