NATIONAL EXPERTS GIVE LANDRIEU'S LOUISIANA REBIRTH PLAN AN A+ -- 08/23/2007
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2007
NATIONAL EXPERTS GIVE LANDRIEU'S LOUISIANA REBIRTH PLAN AN A+
Landrieu: "Louisiana can set the standard for high performance, accountability, and ethical behavior."
NEW ORLEANS, LA - On Thursday, August 23, 2007, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and Secretary Angele Davis of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism hosted the third meeting of the Louisiana Rebirth Accountability Panel, a group of national experts charged with performance reviews of the Lt. Governor's recovery plan.
In developing the Louisiana Rebirth Plan - a strategic plan that guides tourism and cultural recovery efforts post Katrina and Rita - the Office of Lieutenant Governor and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism recognized that a commitment of considerable state, federal, and private resources would need to be dedicated to the recovery of the state's tourism industry. With that in mind, Lieutenant Governor Landrieu and Secretary Angèle Davis spearheaded the creation of a third-party performance and financial audit function to design and implement a system to safeguard the proper use of funds.
Lt. Governor Landrieu said the Accountability Panel is part of their strong commitment to restoring the public trust and to ensuring that recovery funding moved quickly to those who needed it without funds being misspent or misused. "Louisiana government can set the standard for high performance, accountability and ethical behavior," Lt. Governor Landrieu said. "It is simply a matter of making accountability a top priority and putting a strategy in place to make it happen."
Panelists visited five program sites receiving recovery funds - City Park, an AmeriCorps volunteer site, the Mid-City branch of the Library, historic homes in Holy Cross, and the Old U.S. Mint. Panel Member Sylvester Murray, Professor of Public Administration at Cleveland State University, said the Lt. Governor's Rebirth Plan gets high marks. "You earned an 'A' on the four things we looked at: measuring your work and productivity, measurable results, customer service, and finances, " Murray said. "You have successful programs."
In February 2006, the Louisiana Rebirth Accountability Panel was established by Executive Order (No. KBB 2006-8) and was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the highest standards of accountability and ethical behavior would be maintained in utilizing the Department's funds.
DCRT Secretary Davis said high performance is key to the continuing flow of federal dollars for Louisiana's recovery. "We have had great success in transforming a traditional government department into an accountable, entrepreneurial organization," Davis said. "This new organizational model has enabled us to secure and reinvest more than $50 million into rebuilding our tourism and cultural economy."
Under the guidelines of the Lt. Governor's Rebirth Plan, the state's recovery has had tremendous movement. The Office of the Lt. Governor has delivered nearly $10 million dollars to owners of historic buildings damaged by the 2005 hurricanes through the Hurricane Recovery Grant program; leveraged more than $50 million in outside funding including $28.5 million in tourism recovery dollars; developed and launched the "Come Fall in Love with Louisiana" celebrity ad campaign; and funneled $7 million to AmeriCorps volunteers and programs through the LA Serve Commission; and worked to return big celebrations to New Orleans - Mardi Gras, Jazz Festival and the Essence Festival. The Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation has raised $1.1 million in private funding and distributed the money in six rounds of grant awards.
Arman Sadgepour, a hurricane recovery grant recipient who received $45,000 to help restore a historical property in the central business district, told the Accountability Panel that he was serviced in record time. " They said the process took 45 days, but I was contacted two weeks after they received my application," he said. Sadgepour was one of several people who received either hurricane recovery monies or cultural foundation grant recipients who told recounted their experiences for the panel.
Accountability Panel Members include Richard C. Tracy, Former Portland City Auditor; Anne Kinney, Government Finance Officers Association Director of Research and Consulting; John Kamensky, Senior Fellow, IBM Center for Government; Sean Reilly, Chair, Louisiana Recovery Authority; Bill Strickland, Pittsburgh Social Entrepreneur; Cindy Eisenhauer, former Chief of Staff to Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack; Sylvester Murray, Professor of Public Administration, Cleveland State University; Barry Erwin, Council for a Better Louisiana; Jim Brandt, Public Affairs Research Council.
Panel member Cindy Eisenhauer said the Louisiana Rebirth Plan has achieved stated goals. "The Lt. Governor and CRT clearly take seriously their responsibility to be accountable to the citizens of Louisiana and have adopted sound business practices to get the biggest possible 'bang for every buck' invested in the State's cultural and tourism rebirth. Data shows great results have already been achieved and the momentum is growing. CRT is an accountable government model for the rest of state government."