Watchdog group calls for complete overhaul of New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board structure

(UI) – The Louisiana Illuminator reported that the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) watchdog group has called for a “complete overhaul” of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board’s governance structure.

According to the report, the Sewerage & Water Board’s “unique” governing structure is responsible for several critical issues, including failing flood protection, boil-water notices and rising costs associated with a struggling billing system. The report also described board as an “odd mix” of a state-run agency and municipal water department under the control of the city government. BGR’s’ President and CEO Rebecca Mowbray said that the structure “is a complicated web of competing interests and weak accountability that works against long-term performance,” the Louisiana Illuminator reported.

BGR’s report states that state control makes enacting change challenging, and city council involvement leaves financial decisions vulnerable to political influence.

The report offered two redesign options to overhaul the current structure: reforming the existing board or replacing it with a city water department. While the first option is “easier,” the second would solve more problems. Either option would help ease burdens the ineffective structure that city officials have been asking to change for decades.

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