November 05, 2015
City Council Chamber
City Council November 5, 2015 Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, November 5, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's Regular City Council Meeting, the Council created a special rate of pay for New Orleans police officers with bilingual duties. The Council also required Ethics Review Board Members to file annual income financial disclosure statements and approved grants from both the Harrah's Community Support and Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Programs.
In other business, the Council recognized by proclamation Ursuline Academy Distinguished Alumnae Deborah Elam and the retirement of James "Santa Baby" Mitchell.
Created Special Rate of Pay for Police Officers with Bilingual Duties
The Council passed Motion M-15-523, authored by Councilmembers Head, Williams, Guidry, Cantrell and Brossett, amending the Classified Pay Plan to include a new special rate of pay for New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers assigned to use bilingual skills, including American Sign Language, in the regular performance of their duties. To be eligible for Bilingual Pay, officers must submit the official Request for Bilingual Special Rate of Pay Form and pass approved bilingual skills proficiency tests. NOPD will notify officers in writing of the translation duties, starting date, and ending date (if applicable) of Bilingual Pay. Approved officers will receive an additional $1.50 per hour over their normal rate of pay for time spent performing work as a translator.
Council President Williams said, "By establishing a new pay plan for bilingual police officers, the Council is helping improve communications and engagement between the NOPD and New Orleans' non-English speaking residents while rewarding officers with special abilities."
Required Ethics Review Board Members to File Annual Income Financial Disclosure Statements
|District "D" |
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,968, authored by Councilmember Brossett, expressly requiring members of the Ethics Review Board to file annual income financial disclosure statements in accordance with the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics. The City Code currently requires the Mayor, members of the City Council and top appointed officials in City Government to file annual income financial disclosure statements. The Ordinance extends the annual filing requirement to members of the Ethics Review Board.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "By requiring personal financial disclosures by members of the Ethics Review Board, we are sending a strong message that the citizens of New Orleans value transparent and ethically responsible government."
Approved Harrah's Community Support and Cox Communications' Community Grant Programs Funding
The Council passed Resolution R-15-522, approving the distribution of funds made possible through the Harrah's Community Support Grants Program. Grant Program funding is used to foster organizations and projects that contribute to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of the City.
The Council approved grant funding of approximately $115,220. Among the organizations receiving grants are: New Orleans Habitat for Humanity, The New Orleans Council for Community and Justice (NOCCJ), Light House for the Blind in New Orleans, Parkway Partners Program, NOLA Tree Project, Covenant House New Orleans, Harmony Neighborhood Development, NAMI New Orleans, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, Algiers Economic Development Foundation, French Quarter Festivals Inc., East New Orleans Business Development District, and Hope The Premier Way, Inc.
The Council also passed Resolution R-15-533, approving the distribution of funds made possible through the Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Program. The Grant Program provides funds to non-profit organizations focused on education, technology training, communications and other similar programs that benefit New Orleans youth.
The Council approved grant funding of approximately $139,000. Among the organizations receiving grants are: Tipitina's Foundation, Youth Empowerment Project, Start the Adventure in Reading, STEM NOLA, Gentilly Festival, Inc., Crimestoppers, Inc., Reconcile New Orleans, Inc., City Year New Orleans, Orleans Public Education Network, Girls on the Run, VIA Link, Inc., Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse for GNO, Boy Scouts of America SE Louisiana Council, Ellis Marsalis Center, and Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School.
Council President Williams said, "These grants offer diverse organizations across the City the ability to expand their various initiatives and services to the community. Each of these organizations provides important services for our citizens and contributes to the vibrancy of our City. It is an honor to assist these groups through the City Council/Harrah's Community Support and Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grants Programs."
Recognized Ursuline Academy Distinguished Alumnae Deborah Elam
The Council recognized by proclamation Deborah Elam, recipient of the 2015 Ursuline Academy Distinguished Alumnae Award. Elam, an Ursuline Academy Class of 1979 graduate, studied at Louisiana State University and Southern University in Baton Rouge where she received a B.A. in Sociology and a Masters of Public Administration respectively. Elam began working for General Electric (GE) in 1987 as part of the Human Resources Leadership Program. She currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer at GE and the President of the GE Foundation, the philanthropic branch of GE. Elam's position makes her one of the most senior women at GE, where she leads efforts to bring employees closer to their communities, while maintaining diversity and inclusiveness.
|Ursuline Academy Distinguished Alumnae Deborah Elam with members of the Council|
In addition to her role at GE, Elam is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of the top African Americans in corporate America, and the National Black MBA Association. She has also held leadership roles in a variety of organizations including the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Links, Inc., and Jack and Jill of America. Deborah Elam currently resides in Stamford, Connecticut.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "I am proud to recognize Mrs. Deborah Elam for her impressive and outstanding accomplishments. Her strong work ethic and devotion to service stands as an inspiration not only to students at Ursuline Academy, but to all young women in New Orleans."
Recognized the Retirement of James "Santa Baby" Mitchell
The Council recognized by proclamation the retirement of James "Santa Baby" Mitchell as Santa Claus during the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club's annual Toys for Tots Giveaway. For 25 years, James Mitchell has served the children of New Orleans by dressing up as Santa Claus and distributing toys during the Zulu Toys for Tots giveaway at City Hall. In addition to his participation in the Toys for Tots giveaway, Mitchell is involved in veterans' issues as Head of Military Affairs for Zulu, First District Area "B" Commander of the American Legion, Certified Representative of Veteran Affairs, Commander of American Legion Post #555 and is a Former President of the Fleet Reserve Branch #162.
|James "Santa Baby" Mitchell with members of the Council|
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "On behalf of the City Council of New Orleans, I would like to thank James Mitchell for his years of service and devotion to the children and families of New Orleans. Although he is retiring from his position as Zulu Santa Claus, I am confident that he will continue to serve and remain a vital part of our community."