January 08, 2015
City Council Chamber
City Council January 8, 2015 Regular Meeting Summary
Thursday, January 8, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council passed a motion approving a constitutional amendment relative to parental work leave for City employees. The Council also passed a resolution calling a special election for authorization of a new ad valorem tax for public library operations.
In other business, the Council recognized local organizations "Women With A Vision" and "Each One Save One" for their work in the community. The Council also honored local accessibility advocate Jonah Bascle and recognized NOPD officers for exceptional service.
Additionally, the Council convened in Executive Session to address pending litigation:
- New Orleans Firefighters Pension and Relief Fund V. City of New Orleans, Civil District Court No. 2012-7061.
Approved Amendment to City Civil Service Rules Relative to Parental Work Leave for City EmployeesThe Council passed Motion M-15-20, introduced by Council President Head, approving the amendment to the Rule VIII, Section 9, Leave for Parental Reasons (Maternity, Paternity and Adoptive Parent) as adopted by the Civil Service Commission, effective January 1, 2015.
At the request of the administration, the amendment's rule changes would provide city employees with a new benefit of "parental leave" due to pregnancy, childbirth, or the adoption and permanent placement of an adoptive child. The Chief Administrative Office has certified that funds are available to implement the proposed amendments to the Civil Service Rules.
Specifically the rule changes provide for:
- Parental leave shall be recorded as leave granted in addition to the employee's accumulated sick and annual leave for the approved durations;
- An employee on approved Parental Leave shall be reinstated to his/her former position, or a comparable position, upon return to work within the 12 weeks provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act;
- 8 weeks of Parental Leave for maternity leave, 2 weeks of Parental Leave for paternity leave;
- 8 weeks of Parental Leave for the primary adoptive parent, and 2 weeks of Parental Leave for the secondary adoptive parent.
Council President Head said, "We are excited to move forward with this much-needed update to our City's policy for parental leave. It is important that all new parents are afforded the time and support necessary to welcome a new child into their home."
Called Special Election for Authorization of New Ad Valorem Tax for Public Library OperationsThe Council passed Resolution R-15-19 calling a special election in the Parish of Orleans on Saturday, May 2, 2015, to approve or disapprove authorization of the City Council's annual levying of a new ad valorem tax for New Orleans Public Libraries operations.
The special ad valorem tax is not to exceed 2.5 mills on all property subject to taxation within the City, an estimated $8.25 million annually, and will be levied for a period of 25 years, beginning January 1, 2016 and ending December 31, 2040. The New Orleans Public Library system will utilize the tax funds to cover operational costs. This tax will be in addition to the current 3.14 mills tax for the benefit of the City's public libraries, which expires December 31, 2021.
Council Vice President Williams said, "Libraries are critical to the enrichment of our youth and our communities. They serve as a meeting place for our community groups, a learning space for our children, and a communication and information resource for all of our citizens. A good library system is good crime prevention and we will do everything we can to support our libraries."
Honored Local Accessibility AdvocateThe Council honored the late Jonah Bascle, an entertainer and advocate for improving handicap accessibility in the City. In 2010, Jonah ran a single-issue campaign for mayor, focusing on the handicap inaccessibility of the St. Charles streetcar line, which does not provide any access for wheelchair-bound citizens. During this campaign, he staged a protest with 50 other demonstrators that temporarily brought streetcar traffic to a halt. In November 2014, Councilmember Guidry presented Jonah with a Proclamation from the City Council honoring him for his activism and dedication to making the City more accessible. On December 28, 2014 Jonah passed away at the age of 28 due to heart complications that had been affecting him for the past 9 years.
Councilmember Guidry said, "Jonah Bascle led an exemplary life and was truly committed to making a difference in this community. His dedication to expanding handicap accessibility in the City has led to many improvements for citizens with disabilities, and we will continue the push to create a fully accessible city for all handicapped citizens."
Celebrated Community Work of "Women With A Vision" The Council received a presentation from Women With a Vision, Inc.(WWAV) recognizing the organization's 25 years of grassroots work to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families and communities. The Council presented WWAV representatives with a Proclamation in recognition of the organization's dedication to the City of New Orleans through the provision of critical resources and services to communities in need.The organization was founded in 1989 by a grassroots collective of African American women in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in local communities. Today, WWAV is a social justice non-profit that addresses issues faced by women within the New Orleans community, with a focus on sex workers' rights, drug policy reform, HIV positive women's advocacy, and reproductive justice outreach. Representatives from WWAV highlighted the organization's work at the local jail to provide women with support and resources, as well as efforts at Municipal Court to reduce recidivism and incarceration.
District "A" Councilmember Susan Guidry said, "Over the last 25 years, Women With A Vision has provided tremendous support and assistance to our city's most vulnerable communities of women through their ongoing service and advocacy. This Council applauds their efforts to fight for policy reform to further protect these women."
Recognized "Each One Save One" for Youth Mentorship WorkEach One Save One co-founders, Cathy Harris and Sally-Ann Roberts, appeared before the Council for a presentation and a Proclamation recognizing Each One Save One Day in honor of the organization's work over the past 20 years mentoring youth in the community, and celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Mentor Magic Gala.Founded in 1994, Each One Save One is a non-profit organization aimed at recruiting, screening, training, and supporting mentors for disadvantaged youth in New Orleans. The organization provides a school-based mentoring program where students meet with mentors during school hours and receive advice on education, career and making positive life choices. The organization is comprised of three main programs: MentorNOLA, Making a Difference Professional Development Training Program, and GRoW Healthy Mentoring. Each One Save One holds their annual Mentor Magic Gala fundraising event aimed at celebrating mentors and supporters and encouraging donations to further the organization's cause. The gala will take place on January 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency. For tickets and more information call (504) 896-9979 or click here.
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "The youth of our City have so much potential but many of them lack the guidance and opportunity to nurture that potential in a supportive environment. Each One Save One and its supporters teach, guide and support children that would otherwise not be afforded the mentoring they deserve. It is this kind of grassroots organization that is one of the preventative solutions to the crime problem. It is an honor to be able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this dedicated organization."
Recognized NOPD Officers for Exceptional ServiceThe Council honored New Orleans Police Department Detectives Michael Poulikis and John Waterman for their exceptional service to the District "B" community. Shortly before Christmas, Ms. Mary Owen, a senior citizen residing in District "B," was robbed and beaten in her home. The responding officers worked in partnership with local businesses to provide this citizen with basic household necessities including groceries, bedding, and a winter coat. The Council presented the NOPD detectives with Certificates of Appreciation and Proclamations in honor of their service.
District "B" Counilmember Cantrell said, "These officers went above and beyond the call of duty in a true demonstration of community policing at its highest level. The Council extends its sincere gratitude to these officers, as well as all the NOPD officers, whose hard work and sacrifices protect the quality of life of our citizens."