November 04, 2021 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - During its regular meeting today, the New Orleans City Council voted to implement new standards for City contractors and construction projects, adopted a resolution supporting local transgender and nonconforming communities, and authorized a series of amendments and funding reappropriations within the 2021 City Budget.
Additionally, the Council was presented with the annual Clyde Merritt Award from the Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) Office for passing the historic Budget Parity Ordinance in August of last year. The approved increase in OPD's funding by at least 85% of the District Attorney’s budget levels the playing field for New Orleans' most vulnerable citizens.
New Standards for City Contractors
The Council passed two ordinances (33,513 & 33,514), establishing a responsible contracting ordinance to implement standards for prospective City contractors and promote responsibility across all City-executed construction projects.
In recent years, the City of New Orleans has spent millions for the delivery of products and services from private sector contractors, and in order to facilitate the prudent expenditure of these public dollars, it needs a qualified, capable, and responsible pool of contractors to choose from.
The responsible contracting ordinance established by 33,513 allows the City to better define “contractor responsibility” and “responsible contractors” by instituting comprehensive submission requirements or City work. Additionally, it will help promote the highest possible standards of quality, efficiency, and compliance on City construction jobs and ensure taxpayer dollars are used to enhance economic equity and workplace safety for all New Orleanians.
Ordinance 33,514 states that every construction contract entered into by the City of New Orleans totaling $50,000 or more will contain stipulation requirements to comply with all federal, state and municipal laws, holding contractors accountable for any subcontractor violations.
Council Stands with Transgender Community in Advocating for More Inclusive Gender-Affirming Identification Policies
The Council unanimously adopted a resolution voicing its support of the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Community (TGNC), bringing attention to gender incongruent identification and how it negatively impacts these individuals from denial of employment, housing, and public benefits, to harassment and even physical violence. Resolution R-21-406 urges all local and state-level entities to review relevant policies that could prevent or create barriers to obtaining gender-affirming identification.
Since the onset of the pandemic, discrimination targeting TGNC individuals has increased significantly with spikes in violence against transgenders across the country. These incidents have been further exacerbated by the fact that few TGNC members possess government-issued identification that matches their true identities; which would help to protect them from systemic violence and increase their chances of success when applying for housing, healthcare, jobs, and other public benefits.
Before its adoption of R-21-406, the Council heard from representatives of the Real Name Campaign, which fights for no less than fully accessible name and gender marker changes in New Orleans and Louisiana. Members also affirmed their support of several requested changes the campaign has identified across current administrative laws, policies, and procedures relative to the procurement of new identification.
"Correct name and gender markers on all forms of identification are necessary for full, lived equality. With this resolution, the Council stands ready to assist both here and at the state to make identification policies more sensitive, affordable, and streamlined,” said Council President Helena Moreno. “Thank you to Real Name Campaign, the Forum for Equality, Louisiana Trans Advocates, and True Colors United for fighting to ensure our identification policies and practices are equitable and accessible for all.”
“These ordinances will require accountability of City contractors for the working conditions of projects they do for the City," said District "E" Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen. “They will also ensure that compliance with all labor and employment laws is a stated priority and make clear that any contractor who enters into a contractual relationship with the City is responsible for all of the work necessary to complete the job, regardless of who performs it.”
2021 Budget Amendments and Funding Allocations
The Council passed a series of budget-related items with changes to the City’s Operating and Capital Budgets for 2021, including:
- Ordinance 33,499 amending the 2021 Capital Budget to appropriate funds to the Department of Public Works and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC).
- Ordinance 33,508 amending the 2021 Capital Budget to appropriate funds to the Chief Administrative Office (CAO), Department of Property Management, Department of Public Works, New Orleans Public Library, and NORDC.
- Ordinance 33,512 amending the 2021 Capital Budget to appropriate funds to the CAO, Department of Property Management, Department of Public Works, Municipal Yacht Harbor Management Corporation, New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD), New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), and NORDC.
- Ordinances 33,493 & 33,494 amending the 2021 Operating Budget to appropriate an additional $200M for Intergovernmental Revenues and $200M for Intergovernmental Transfers.
- Ordinances 33,529, 33,531 & 33,532 amending the 2021 Operating Budget to appropriate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the Department of Treasury to support gas utility assistance programs for New Orleans ratepayers.
Chief of Staff
New Orleans City Council