A measure codifying some of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s contracting practices in the city’s charter, making them requirements for future mayors, won easy approval from New Orleans voters on Tuesday.
About 60 percent of voters favored an amendment to the Home Rule Charter that will require the city to follow a competitive selection process in awarding professional service contracts not covered by state public bid laws and also to establish and maintain a program for minority- and women-owned businesses.
The measure also shifts the authority to sign such contracts on the city’s behalf from the director of finance to the chief administrative officer.
In broad terms, the charter change binds future administrations to some, though not all, of the changes in contracting practices Landrieu has put in place through executive orders and ordinance revisions during his administration.
For example, an executive order issued by the mayor in 2010 requires a competitive selection process for professional service contracts.
The charter amendment says selection committees made up of individuals from “within local government with relevant subject matter expertise” will evaluate proposals and make recommendations to the mayor or various agencies in meetings that are open to the public. It does not, however, require that the mayor accept the committees’ recommendations.
Meanwhile, the city has set forth DBE regulations in an ordinance that requires companies receiving city contracts to comply with City Hall’s goal of 35 percent participation by disadvantaged business enterprises on publicly financed projects and public projects that receive public funding or incentives.
The charter amendment does not require that DBEs get a specific percentage of city contracts. But it does say the city must “establish and maintain” a program that encourages participation by such businesses.
Orleans residents also voted 65 percent in favor of shifting the inauguration dates for the mayor and City Council from May to January. The change will shorten the time between election and taking office when new election dates passed by the Legislature take effect in 2017.