The new website of the New Orleans City Council, council.nola.gov, went live Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.
In addition to the new website, the Council has recently renovated the City Council Chamber and made additions to its central staff. The Council’s new website was designed and is maintained by public servants, and replaces a privately hosted platform operating on an antiquated architecture. The new site boasts a powerful search engine that gives the public easy access to legislative history, city laws and past meeting summaries.
The site is mobile friendly and integrates with the Council’s meeting/agenda archive and legislative history. The site also provides the framework for a future Council-led initiatives such as the Council’s new Crime Dashboard and Prison Population Snapshot and monthly budget monitoring. These initiatives were spurred by At-large Councilman Jason Williams, who serves as Council president and chair of the Criminal Justice Committee Chair, and District D Councilman and Budget Committee chair Jared Brossett, who also serves as chairman of the Budget Committee.
“I have been working on the concept of public-facing criminal justice dashboards since the end of last term,” Williams said. “The public deserves absolute transparency as it relates to public safety and they should have unfettered, unfiltered access to the actual data that measures that effort. Making information more accessible and well organized is not just a tenant of smart cities or of criminal justice reform, it is a common-sense measure for the public good. I’m excited that all residents will have quick and easy access to the information contained in the Crime Dashboard on the new City Council website.”
The Crime Dashboard was developed by City Council Public Safety Analyst, Jeff Asher.
“These dashboards provide citizens with a unique look into crime and the criminal justice system in New Orleans in an easily digestible format for the user and data that is current,” Asher said. “With the crime tracker dashboard, anyone can see crime figures for the city and evaluate trends in their area as they develop using open data provided by NOPD. The jail population snapshot dashboard, meanwhile, provides a one-of-a-kind look into who is currently in custody in New Orleans using data from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office. This information is critical to showing our shrinking jail population and highlighting ways the system is succeeding and needs work.”
Brossett provided the vision for the new website, working with Council Chief of Staff, David Gavlinski, and the City’s Information Technology and Innovation team to build the new site from scratch. The effort represents the culmination of a long-held goal to upgrade the Council’s web presence while maintaining its meeting archive. It also achieves the goal of bringing the website in-house, which provides for cost savings as well as the ability to roll out ongoing improvements directly to the public.
“I am extremely proud and excited to be announcing the launch of the new City Council website today,” said Brossett. “This new and improved web portal will increase government transparency and efficiency, allowing us to better serve the citizens of New Orleans.”