NEW ORLEANS - Members of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board will meet for the first time Wednesday since Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced major reforms he wants to see at the agency.
Nearly 40 percent of the fresh water produced in the city leaks out of broken pipes, according to Landrieu.
Especially after recent power outages that have spurred on boil water advisories, the mayor said that it is time for a change.
Landrieu's proposal starts at the top with the suggestion of cutting S&WB Board members from 13 to nine.
He wants the New Orleans City Council members to step down from the board.
One seat should be held by a person appointed by the mayor, he said.
New board membership would include the mayor, who would be president, two members from the Board of Liquidation and six citizens, who would be picked by teams from the universities.
The citizens would need experience in fields such as engineering, accounting, law and consumer advocacy. Terms would change from nine years to six years and would be limited to two, according to the mayor's proposal.
The mayor said he put a lot of thought into the plan and had the help of advisory teams from all over the city.
"Sewerage and Water Board consultants, staff and board members weighed in on this. The Bureau of Governmental Research weighed in on it. The Citizens Task Force led by Gary Solomon weighed in on it. Business and civic leaders weighed in on it. Neighborhood organizations and citizens themselves - and the public has demanded that the organizational structure of the Sewerage and Water Board be reformed," Landrieu said.
State law changes, approval by city council and eventually by voters is expected to be done between March and October 2013