The proposed City Charter change that would require City Council confirmation of appointments by the Mayor or Chief Administrative Officer to head any executive branch department is shortsighted, politically motivated and superfluous. That’s what we said earlier this year when at-large council members J.P. Morrell and Helena Moreno first proposed the ordinance. We had hoped the measure would fail to make it out of Council; but if it did, we promised we would urge Orleans Parish voters to shoot this proposal down at the polls.
In New Orleans, City Council members are not elected to control the Mayor’s office, despite what Moreno and Morrell seem to think. Voting “no” on the measure not only protects the ability of the current mayor to choose top leadership for her administration, but it protects the ability of every duly elected mayor to follow. And that is vital!
That Moreno and Morrell would offer such a sweeping change to the city’s charter as a part of their political sparring with the current administration certainly forces us to question their leadership and ability to put the needs of the people of New Orleans over their own political aspirations.
There is a reason New Orleans has an elected mayor, rather than an appointed mayor. It establishes political leadership of the city.
There are already checks and balances in place. When it comes to political appointees, there is a state ethics board that administers code relative to local and state public employees and appointees. When it comes to issues of policy, the mayor has veto powers, which were exhibited when Mayor LaToya Cantrell vetoed this very measure after it was first approved by the City Council. Conversely, the City Council can override a mayor’s veto—a power move that was also exhibited when Morrell and Moreno, along with council members Joe Giarrusso, Lesli Harris and Freddie King III mustered the super-majority needed to push the measure through and get it on the ballot despite the executive veto. See, it works!
Now it is time for the people of New Orleans to show their power by rejecting this petty political play that will have a negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of City Hall.
In creating an executive level team, the mayor of the City must have the ability to hand pick the individuals that he or she will work with to implement his or her vision. There must be a relationship built on trust and confidence between the mayor and members of his or her executive team that, quite frankly, would be compromised by appointees having to curry favor with members of the Council in order to solidify their appointments.
We are saying “NO” on the Home Rule Charter Amendment. Our recommendation on that ballot item, appears below, along with others on the eight constitutional amendments that also on the Nov. 8 ballot:
CA No. 1 (ACT 130, 2021 – HB 154)
Modifies the maximum amount of monies in certain state funds that may be invested in equities
Do you support an amendment to increase to 65% the cap on the amount of monies in certain state funds that may be invested in stocks?
CA No. 2 (ACT 172, 2022 – HB 599)
Expands property tax exemptions for homestead exemption property for veterans with disabilities
Do you support an amendment to expand certain property tax exemptions for property on which the homestead exemption is claimed for certain veterans with disabilities?
CA No. 3 (ACT 156, 2021 – HB 315)
Allows classified civil service employees to support election of family members to public office
Do you support an amendment to allow classified civil service employees to support the election to public office of members of their own families? (Amends Article X, Sections 9 and 20)
CA No. 4 (ACT 155, 2021 – HB 59)
Authorizes a political subdivision to waive charges for water under certain circumstances
Do you support an amendment to allow local governments to waive water charges that are the result of damage to the water system not caused by the customer?
CA No. 5 (ACT 133, 2021 – SB 154)
Provides relative to property tax millage rate adjustments and maximum authorized millage rates
Do you support an amendment to allow the levying of a lower millage rate by a local taxing authority while maintaining the authority’s ability to adjust to the current authorized millage rate?
CA No. 6 (ACT 129, 2021 – HB 143)
Limits the increase in assessed value of certain property following reappraisal in Orleans Parish
Do you support an amendment to limit the amount of an increase in the assessed value of residential property subject to the homestead exemption in Orleans Parish following reappraisal at ten percent of the property’s assessed value in the previous year?
CA No. 7 (ACT 246, 2022 – HB 298)
Provides relative to the prohibition of involuntary servitude and administration of criminal justice
Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of involuntary servitude except as it applies to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice?
CA No. 8 (ACT 171, 2022 – HB 395)
Removes requirement of annual certification of income for certain eligible disabled homeowners
Do you support an amendment to remove the requirement that homeowners who are permanently totally disabled must annually re-certify their income to keep their special assessment level on their residences for property tax purposes? (Amends Article VII, Section 18(G)(1)(a)(iv))
PW HRC Amendment – Art. IV, Sec. 4-106 – CC
Shall Article IV, Section 4-106 of the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans be amended (1) to require City Council confirmation of appointments by the Mayor or Chief Administrative Officer to head any executive branch department established by Article IV of the Charter; (2) to permit the City Council, by ordinance, to require confirmation of any appointment to head any other department, office or unit to which executive powers have been assigned or transferred in accordance with Sections 4-105 or 9-201(2) of the Charter; and (3) to allow interim appointments of up to 120 days without first obtaining City Council confirmation, as provided in Ordinance No. 28999 M.C.S.?