- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An independent report concluded New Orleans’ Recreation Development Commission has made strides in opening facilities and garnering resources but faces challenges with staffing and defining a vision going forward.

According to an executive summary provided to The New Orleans Advocate (https://bit.ly/1R0RHPw ) by the commission’s fundraising arm, the Boston Consulting Group’s report praises the opening of new facilities, the growth in funding and the creation of community advisory teams to gather feedback. It also warns of staff turnover and said the fast pace of opening new facilities could create maintenance challenges.

The public-private model for recreation programs was adopted after voters approved a City Charter change in 2010 that created the semi-independent commission and a fundraising arm, the NORDC Foundation, to improve the city’s offerings.

The report is not likely to resolve the ongoing dispute between Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who has called for changes to the organization that she says would make the commission more accountable and give its semi-independent board a more active role.

“Basically, what it says is we’ve done a good job and we need to keep our eye on the ball and double-down going forward,” said John Sibal, who sits on both the commission and the NORDC Foundation.

Cantrell, however, said the report is “crystal clear” that the commission needs to change how it is governed.

Earlier this year, Cantrell began to call for changes at the organization, citing complaints from some residents about programming and from former staffers about low morale and a poor workplace environment.

Other members of the City Council said they were waiting for the report to be completed before they weighed in on any possible changes.

The council’s Community Development Committee is expected to receive a presentation on the report at its Dec. 9 meeting.


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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