The Louisiana Association of Planning and Development Districts advocates and works on behalf of its member parishes and municipalities to improve communications and cooperation among Federal Agencies and state/local governments in Post Disaster Economic Recovery.
Communication vehicles between different federal agencies and between different levels of government need to be improved, particularly when the local community is receiving federal assistance from multiple agencies. Government agencies often need to improve their efforts of standing operating procedures. All disasters are “local”. This is particularly true in the case of a catastrophe, where communications, collaborations and cooperation will go a long way in advancing recovery while ensuring government funds are used in an efficient manner.
Local officials believe there could be improvement in the coordination of efforts on the ground between local, state and federal levels of government. Different levels of government need to understand the roles and responsibilities of one another. If we understand that disasters impact communities in unique ways and that local communities have different socio-political structures and resources that will influence the effectiveness of recovery policies and programs, then local officials need to be at the negotiating table with federal/state government agencies at an early stage. Local input is critical in adjusting federal regulations to meet local conditions. Open and frequent communication between different agencies and different levels of government will facilitate the development of appropriate policies, programs and initiatives to spur community recovery.
LAPDD engages Federal and State agencies, particularly those with a presence in Louisiana, in order to prepare and streamline working relationships. Understanding different roles and responsibilities can help improve agencies’ responses to local communities. By bringing both the state and local counterparts to the negotiating table, these federal inter-agency relationships can play a vital role in developing strong partnerships between different levels of government. It also helps to ensure that recovery efforts are better aligned — and not duplicated.
In addition, we enjoy functional and working relationships with partners who have invested resources in LAPDD to advance resiliency. This includes: Economic Development Administration (through the Austin Regional Office) Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (through Environmental Protection Agency Region VI funding). GOHSEP’s IMAS was briefed and invited to utilize LAPDD as a vehicle of engagement for local governing jurisdictions. More recently, we have expanded this partnership ‘address’ to include Louisiana Economic Development (Community Outreach and Small and Emerging Business Development), Louisiana Office of Historic Preservation, Louisiana Office of Community Development, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and Louisiana Fast Start (Economic Development), Louisiana Workforce Development. Often, this is accomplished by convening statewide working meetings of strategists, planners, and program managers, so as to share the local experience and advocate for streamlined functions.