Letter: Group backs Doody and Barry for SLFPA-East

For the past six years, thanks to the exceptional leadership of Tim Doody, president, Vice President John Barry and the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East Board, significant flood-related issues have been successfully addressed.

The board has worked collaboratively with the Army Corps of Engineers to correct key issues critical to flood protection. Top priorities are to have the corps “armor” the levee system properly and to upgrade the levee system to a higher-than-100-year level.

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans led a broad-based coalition for levee board reform and consolidation after Hurricane Katrina.

About 53,000 petition signatures calling for levee board reform prompted Gov. Kathleen Blanco to call a special session of the Legislature to focus on flood protection.

This effort was successful in passing both legislation and a statewide constitutional amendment creating SLFPA. The success of this effort brought a new era of expertise, independence, accountability and transparency to the New Orleans-area levee board system — no longer one of patronage.

Doody, a certified public accountant, has led efforts to consolidate practices in the different levee districts and changed financial management practices, which saved in excess of $6 million. In effect, he performs a full-time job without pay, overseeing the running of three levee districts with a combined annual budget of approximately $35 million. Barry, author of “Rising Tide,” is a recognized national and international expert on social sciences during disasters, serves on advisory boards at MIT’s Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals and Johns Hopkins Center for Refugees and Disaster Relief. His access to both the Bush and Obama White Houses has been significant in making Louisiana’s case and has helped shape national policy on flood protection.

Doody and Barry are recognized at the local, state and national levels as experts in the area of flood protection, and with their experience and commitment to this vital cause, are in the best position to continue to champion and to sustain safe and reliable flood protection for southeast Louisiana.

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans urges the SLFPA – East nominating committee and Gov. Bobby Jindal to reappoint these outstanding leaders who have a proven record of excellence and success. Citizens across the region are watching this critical decision, which could sustain or threaten the progress, effectiveness and future of flood protection in southeast Louisiana.

Ruthie Frierson, founder

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans

New Orleans