OPP Consent Decree May End Per Diem Funding!!

This could be big, very big. Mayor Landrieu and jailer Gusman don’t agree on much anymore. They are on opposite sides of a bitter federal court fight. There is one major point of agreement- both want an end to the entrenched per diem funding mechanism for Orleans Parish Prison.

Cartoon courtesy of WWL.com

WWL Consent Decree Cartoon

WWL Consent Decree Cartoon

The per diem system was instituted in 1969 during an earlier consent decree. The sheriff is paid $22.39 per inmate each day by the mayor.  Federal judge Lance Africk very well may remove this antiquated method. As the jail’s census rises and falls, so goes the jailer’s budget.  Gusman has admitted his jail is broke since his jail is relatively empty these days.

One of the mayor’s biggest complaints has been making the city pay for two consent decrees at once. I personally feel this not the best approach to take. He should have stuck to how bad a manager Gusman is. That is a universal belief, so he gains points for backing that view.

Judge Africk has said he will rule quickly after the final hearing on who will pay. I cannot wait. Gusman’s lack of clarity when submitting his budget to the city council doesn’t give the judge much of starting point. Mayor Landrieu worries about paying for two consent decrees, as he has another one with the New Orleans Police Department. The judge may help the mayor here if it’s decided that his administration isn’t responsible for the OPP bill. I assume the mayor will held responsible for some portion of the OPP decree.

City Council members and the mayor have often complained that Gusman refuses to give them necessary details about his budget. The funny thing is, when Gusman was a city chief administrative officer and council budget committee chairman, he used to say that former sheriff Charles Foti did the same thing. Oh, the irony! The other city departments give the council and the mayor more detail about their spending than the jailer ever does. It’s a huge disparity.

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~ by neworleansmusicman on July 29, 2013.

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