Following the success and popularity of the public BlightStat meetings, the City of New Orleans has launched a series of similar interdepartmental meetings that are open to the public. It is in a combination of demonstrating “transparency in government” and in realizing the value of citizen input that the City has set four regularly scheduled ”Stats:” QualityOfLifeStat (first Thursday of the month), BlightStat (second Thursday of the month), ReqToChecksStat (third Thursday of the month), and BottomLineStat (fourth Thursday of the month). Let us help you get your “Stats” in order.
QualityOfLifeStat (first Thursday of the month) is a new meeting, sort of a spin-off of BlightStat. Departments dealing with quality of life issues excluding abandoned properties meet to discuss performance on addressing issues, workflow, and accountability. Participating departments include Sanitation, Department of Public Works, Parks and Parkways, and NOPD Quality of Life officers. Neighborhood issues addressed include streetlights outages reported and repaired, potholes reported and repaired, dumping reported and removed, and more!
BlightStat (second Thursday of the month) is the working meeting between departments that deal with abandoned properties and blight. Department heads from Code Enforcement, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), and the City Attorney’s office report on properties going through the adjudication process. In the year that it has been operating, BlightStat has clearly made an impact in the City’s ability to create strategies to reduce blight and to increase efficiency in the process. In addition, the meeting is a great example of the ways in which public participation can influence change in policies. Many of the great ideas that have since been implemented in blight reduction strategies came from input from neighborhood leaders at the BlightStat meetings!
ReqToCheckStat (third Thursday of the month) is a performance management monthly meeting where key City officials review data on the City’s contracting system. From the requisition of budgeted funds to the issuance of checks for services rendered, ReqToCheckStat follows the contracting process and holds departments accountable. According to the meeting agenda, Req2ToCheckStat is “intended to provoke constructive dialogue on what is working, what is not, and what the City needs to do to improve.”
BottomLineStat (fourth Thursday of the month) is an open-to-the-public working meeting that monitors and manages the City’s finances and collection systems. The meeting looks at revenue streams and efficiency in collecting sources of revenue. Various departments report on their budgets and collections through programs including code lien foreclosures, EMS, parking and traffic revenues, sanitation, property taxes, sales tax, and more. The meeting aims to improve the efficiency of the City’s revenue collection system and to ensure that departments are held accountable for staying on budget.
All of the “Stats” take place in the Homeland Security Conference Room on the 8th floor of City Hall, beginning at 8:00 am on their respective Thursday morning. Check the meeting schedule for updates, and stay tuned to Beacon for new info coming from these meetings. Check out the City’s new public meeting notices system.