The New Orleans mayor who claims she has to fly first class because coach travel is unsafe for black women might find her pay docked by the city council after violating city policies on flying first class. Just another day in New Orleans politics, right?
New Orleans politics are a unique breed all to themselves and the latest brouhaha in the sweaty, seedy southern city has to do with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and her lavish travel habits which including flying first class seats – despite city policies prohibiting such behavior.
In question are several trips Cantrell took where she flew first class including a pricey trip to France that set the city back $43,000 in total with her plane ticket alone costing north of $17,000.
According to Cantrell, the city policy doesn’t apply to her because she’s elected to the office, and more importantly, it’s not safe for black women to fly coach – in her estimation anyway. The mayor’s trips include visits to Switzerland, Atlanta and the DC-area, all of which had her sitting up front.
Depsite the violation of city policies, the mayor has been steadfast in her refusal to pay the charges back or even admit wrongdoing. The mayor has previously addressed the issue in a press conference highlight her view of the situation.
Despite her best efforts the issues refuse to go away and now the New Orleans City Council is considering docking the mayor’s pay in a bid to recoup the expensive trips.
New Orleans Council President Helena Moreno has indicated the council believes it is within its rights to dock the mayor’s pay.
She further noted, “This is not somebody’s personal money. This is your money, this is you – the taxpayer’s – dollars. And so every penny has to be spent properly, and we believe that it’s not been spent properly in this case. The charter does give us ability to set the mayor’s salary by ordinance, so we could potentially reduce that salary by $30,000 roughly, which is the amount of the upgraded travel, in the upcoming budget season.”
For her part, Mayor Cantrell is pressing forward. Her office released the following statement.
“While the City Council leadership is focused on decreasing the Mayorâ€™s salary, we are laser-focused on increasing salaries for over 4,000 hard-working and dedicated City employees. We are grateful for the Councilâ€™s appropriation of a five percent cost of living adjustment payment that our people have earned and can expect to receive within weeks. We look forward to working with the City Council in the spirit of collaboration to receive approval to also provide employees with a 10 percent raise over the course of the next three years. New Orleans has been faced with and has overcome several unprecedented challenges as a city, and this administration is committed to prioritizing and demonstrating our appreciation for every single public servant who continues to put the needs of the residents before themselves every single day.”Statement from Mayor’s Office