Wednesday, January 13, 2010

City Council ordinance seeks to limit Mayor's discretionary powers, but only this one time

Yesterday, I wrote about the potential for increased federal scrutiny over the manner in which D-CDBG funds are being monitored by the LRA and used in Orleans Parish.

Recently, Mayor Ray Nagin revived plans to purchase the Chevron Building even though City Council had voted against pursuing such an agreement last summer. The Nagin administration has argued that because only funding sources independent of the city budget would be used - the revolver fund or D-CDBG money - Council has no legal oversight authority. Presumably, that logic would extent to every project the Mayor might pursue using non-budget recovery dollars.

I've now learned that City Councilmembers Jackie Clarkson, Arnie Fielkow, Stacy Head, and Shelley Midura have cosponsored an ordinance that would require the Mayor to disclose plans to use money from the capital project fund or D-CDBG funds and to obtain Council approval for those plans.

Read the ordinance here.

The ordinance only applies to "City Hall Project Worksheet 7746," which represents the proposed purchase of the Chevron Building.

It does not tackle the larger questions about the mayor's power to use D-CDBG and revolver fund money in a discretionary fashion and would not preclude the mayor from applying recovery dollars to other projects such as the proposed LSU/VA hospital or the proposed renovation of Municipal Auditorium with little disclosure or oversight.

The measure will be up for a vote at City Council on Thursday, January 21st.


mominem said...

What is needed is a significant adjustment of the relationship between the mayor and the Council.

E said...

Or at the very least some recalibration of who is responsible for how federal recovery dollars are spent.

Anonymous said...

The proposed ordinance is an admirable start but it doesn't go far enough.

Nagin's VA land giveaway is just as secretive and just as questionable as the Chevron deal. Why is the council so blind to the similarities?

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