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Tue April 30, 2013

BGR Worries About Mayor's Veto On Sewerage And Water Board Reforms

BGR President Janet Howard's concerns about veto process.

One of three state legislative goals set by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is making its way through committee hearings in Baton Rouge this week. One part of the proposed changes in Sewerage and Water Board operation is getting some opposition.

The Bureau of Governmental Research is backing most of the mayor’s effort to reform the sewer and water board.

But not the veto power.

Landrieu wants nine members — not 13 — on the board he will still control. And he wants board members with expertise in finance, engineering and other fields.

He’s asking university presidents to give him three recommendations for each of the six seats representing the public.

BGR President Janet Howard says the problem comes with the mayor getting to veto those recommendations.

“It sends a message to the committee to choose someone who will be acceptable to the mayor rather than to focus on who will be of most value to the board," says Howard. "And also if the process becomes politicized then strong candidates might be reluctant to step forward.”

A spokesman for Landrieu says the veto is part of the mayor’s job.

Landrieu also wants to revamp the firefighters’ pension fund and reduce juvenile court judges from six to four.

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