Morrell: Legislature set criminal clerk's staffing; city must fund it

Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal District Court Arthur Morrell didn’t waste any time Friday morning telling the New Orleans City Council that the proposed $3.7 million budget for his office next year would cause a “drastic layoff of people at my office.”

The 90-person clerk’s office handles all court services, including maintaining and processing court files. It also does a lot of photocopying.

Angry council member declares $7M for decree monitor a ‘ripoff’

With cops looking on, Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin defends the city’s police budget at Wednesday’s council meeting. Photo by Tom Gogola

City Council Member Cynthia Hedge-Morrell told the city administration and New Orleans Police Department Wednesday afternoon that $7 million included in 2013’s budget to implement federally-mandated changes at NOPD was a “ripoff” financing “foolish consent decree stuff.”

Hedge-Morrell gave her blunt assessment of the proposed NOPD consent decree as the council asked city leaders why the Independent Police Monitor—a city-chartered police watchdog embedded in the Inspector General’s office—could not do a better, cheaper job than an outside court monitor that will be funded to the tune of $2 million next year.

Squabble over pre-trial program erupts as hearings plow forward

Hum-dee-dum. Discussion over Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposed 2013 budget proceeded in routine fashion for much of Tuesday, with New Orleans City Council members questioning the mayor’s senior aides on ways to squeeze small savings from various programs.

Things heated up in the afternoon, however, when the mayor’s office presented its plan to spend $184,000 on a new program that releases some alleged criminals before they go on trial.

Gusman seeks 60% increase; Criminal Court faces major cut

Agreeing that he wants an alternative to the oft-derided price-per-prisoner amount he collects from the city, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman submitted a fixed-cost budget to the City Council today. Gusman is asking for $37 million for 2013.

Mayor cuts back budget forums, so neighbors plan their own

East bank residents of New Orleans City Council District C are holding their own town-hall meeting tonight regarding the city’s proposed 2013 budget after Mayor Mitch Landrieu departed from previous years’ practice and decided not to hold such a meeting in their area. In each of the past two years, Landrieu has held seven community forums to ask for residents’ suggestions on the budget: one in each of the five council districts, with an extra one each in District C, which spans the Mississippi River, and District E, which includes the Lower 9th Ward and eastern New Orleans.