Louisiana Recovery Authority
WHEREAS, Hurricane Katrina, and its aftermath, and Hurricane Rita have caused unprecedented devastation and damage to the communities of south Louisiana, including its people, economy, infrastructure, natural resources and critical institutions;
WHEREAS, unprecedented state, federal, and other public and private resources will be committed to the rebuilding and redevelopment of these areas;
WHEREAS, it is essential that such resources be coordinated and targeted as well as leveraged with traditional resources to maximize their impact as well as improve efficiency and avoid duplication of efforts;
WHEREAS, the importance and magnitude of such an undertaking dictate that a single unit of government be charged with such a task;
WHEREAS, such unit must be guided by a distinguished board which shall ensure that the redevelopment is conducted to the highest standards of integrity and quality; and
WHEREAS, this unit must work across levels of government, guided by the governor's vision and in support of local communities, to develop and realize a comprehensive long-term vision for a rebuilt and renewed Louisiana.
NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: As authorized by R.S. 49:215, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (hereafter “LRA”) is hereby established within the Military Department, Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. LRA shall be a separate unit of such office with independent authority to contract and to employ, appoint, remove, assign, and promote personnel.
SECTION 2: The duties of LRA shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Establishing and realizing: (1) short-term priorities for recovery; and (2) long-term plans for redevelopment. Such priorities and plans shall draw upon traditional state resources and programs and create special programs dedicated to responding to the aftermath of the hurricanes. Such priorities and plans shall include time-lines and benchmarks and provide a mechanism for public input and modifications based on such input.
B. Creating and pursuing initial thirty (30) day and one hundred (100) day agendas, as well as one and five year plan for the recovery and redevelopment effort, consistent with the priorities and plans established pursuant to Paragraph A of the this Section.
C. Establishing a federal and state legislative agenda for the recovery and redevelopment effort and for coordinating between levels and branches of government to implement that agenda.
D. Identifying funding sources and/or innovative financing alternatives to adequately fund recovery and redevelopment as described in the plan. LRA shall set priorities and offer broad direction to the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness relating to the use of funds made available through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended. It shall also receive, prioritize, create guidelines for and disburse to other agencies and organizations funding that is provided or otherwise made available to the state for recovery and redevelopment efforts, including but not limited to, any state funds made available and any special congressional appropriations associated with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
E. Setting priorities, planning, and coordinating resource allocations as it pertains to issues that may include, but are not limited to the following: 1) economic and workforce development; 2) environmental quality and review; 3) temporary and permanent housing; 4) healthcare; 5) infrastructure and transportation; 6) education; 7) fiscal stability; 9) family services; and 10) law and order.
SECTION 3: The LRA shall submit a written comprehensive report quarterly to the governor, the president of the Louisiana State Senate, the speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, and the public at-large on the issues set forth in Section 2 of this Order.
SECTION 4: The LRA shall be responsive to a Board which shall be composed of a maximum of twenty-six (26) voting members, who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. In addition, the speaker and speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the president and president pro tempore of the Louisiana Senate shall be ex-officio, non-voting members. These additional members shall not be counted for purposes for a quorum.
SECTION 5: The chair and vice-chair of the Board shall be selected by the governor. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by the membership of the Board.
SECTION 6: The Board shall have two primary responsibilities:
A. To provide leadership for an agenda for action to be set by the LRA. The Board may draw on state resources, as necessary, to exercise its leadership role in setting and assisting the LRA in advancing the agenda.
B. To provide oversight to the activities of the LRA.
SECTION 7: A. The Board may create committees as appropriate which may include members of the Board and other stakeholders and conduct work through the use of such committees, provided all final decisions shall be by a vote of the Board.
B. The Board shall appoint an Audit Committee to ensure best practices and procedures in the management of any funds received, expended, or disbursed by the LRA. Such committee shall receive reports produced by the independent accounting firm or firms engaged by the Division of Administration and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and by the audit firm or firms retained by the state or the LRA. The Audit Committee shall present the reports' finding to the full Board and make recommendations as may be appropriate.
SECTION 8: The Board shall meet at regularly scheduled meetings and at the call of the chair.
SECTION 9: Board members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the LRA for serving on the Board; however, such members shall be entitled to reasonable and necessary travel expenses consistent with travel allowance for state classified employees as provided in the latest Policy and Procedure Memorandum 49 and approved by the Board's chair. Board members who are members of the Legislature may seek per diem and travel reimbursements from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate for their attendance.
SECTION 10: The LRA shall also have a director who shall serve as the appointing authority for such unit. Such director shall be appointed by the governor and may be removed by the governor. The governor's direction to all gubernatorial appointees, cabinet officials, agency and department heads as it pertains to the recovery and redevelopment efforts shall be expressed through the director. The director shall serve as the executive and administrative officer of the Board and shall discharge all operational, administrative, and executive functions of the Board, subject to the control, jurisdiction, and supervision of the governor.
SECTION 11: The director, with the Board's approval, shall appoint a chief financial officer who shall report to the director and independently to the Audit Committee of the Board.
SECTION 12: In addition to regular staffing provided to the LRA, the LRA may draw upon staffing and resources from other executive branch agencies as needed.
SECTION 13: All funding received, expended, or disbursed by the LRA shall be subject to audit by the accounting firm engaged by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to oversee the receipt and disbursement of federal funds as well as audit by the Legislative Auditor.
SECTION 14: A. In accordance with R.S. 29:724(D), all departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, shall cooperate with the LRA and/or the Board in implementing the provisions of this Order.
B. As appropriate and when not prohibited by law, other agencies of the state shall establish subsidiaries or take on such functions as may be directed by the LRA in order to carry out the LRA's vision.
SECTION 15: All statutory requirements for state agencies shall be applicable to the Board and its committees, the LRA and any subsidiary established pursuant to this Order, including but not limited to those governing meetings, records, and ethical conduct.
SECTION 16: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be ffixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 17th day of October, 2005.
/S/ Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Secretary of State