New Orleans Court Merger Suddenly Out of Vogue!!
One of the biggest silver linings post Katrina has been the efficiency fervor that New Orleans enjoyed, as the levee boards and assessor system were both consolidated, saving a small fortune. It seems this fervor has died in the case of the Court merger, now that Senator Ed Murray is leading the push to kill the civil and criminal court merger in 2014. His district office is at 1540 N. Broad St., New Orleans, LA 70119. His phone is (504) 945-0042. He’s a New Orleans Democrat with too many friends in the courtroom!
This week, the LA Senate voted unanimously to kill the plan, followed by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Last fall, Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux’s office examined the caseloads of other LA city courts. He discovered that the five Baton Rouge judges do the same amount of work as 12 New Orleans judges from the traffic, municipal and two city courts in New Orleans.
New Orleans has some factors which make consolidation difficult unless certain changes are made. Currently, our traffic, municipal and city court judges and clerks are in different buildings, with incompatible computer systems, pay structures and benefit packages. According to an analysis by the National Center for State Courts, it would cost $3 million to combine court functions. Still, that seems cheap over time, as the savings would be annual and in perpetuity.