NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today announced a proposal to create a New Orleans Home Rule Charter Review Commission. Mayor Cantrell is requesting that the New Orleans City Council file a motion to establish the Commission, which will provide an opportunity for the executive and legislative branches of government to collectively review the current Home Rule Charter.
“Our city has a great opportunity before it,” said Mayor Cantrell. “There are federal investments coming our way and this is an opportunity to invest in ourselves. Our residents deserve a holistic approach to reviewing the Charter that includes a more thoughtful and engaging process.”
“I am not against moving forward with Charter changes, but I am absolutely for a process that is public-facing. It is absolutely critical that we solicit expert review coupled with adequate community participation. I believe our residents are capable of going through a process where they are educated about our Charter and can also bring forth ideas and solutions to changes of their form of government.”
In partnership with the New Orleans City Council, designees will be appointed to the 15-person Commission to conduct a full and thorough review of the government-mandated document. The Charter is the constitution of the city that details the powers, duties and structure of local government and the rights of its citizens.
Last week, Mayor Cantrell executed the Mayoral veto power for the first time during her tenure as the duly elected Mayor of New Orleans. The City Council’s vote to amend the Charter would have focused only on the appointment process of department heads without extensive community engagement and a unified government approach.
The New Orleans Home Rule Charter Review Commission will be comprised of eight designees from local colleges and universities in the city, and four Mayoral designees – one of which shall be a former criminal, civil or municipal court judge. The New Orleans City Council will name the remaining three designees of their choice.
The proposal provides the Cantrell Administration and the New Orleans City Council with the ability to request the review of specified sections of the Charter. The Commission will meet once a month at locations to be determined in all areas of the city to ensure community participation. Within one year of the Commission’s enactment and completion of a full review, a report on the group’s findings, recommendations and any necessary changes must be presented to Mayor Cantrell and the New Orleans City Council.
“Comprehensive public engagement does not equate to a couple of City Council meetings,” said Mayor Cantrell. “A change of this magnitude will affect our city for the foreseeable future.”