New Orleans mayor’s salary could be docked on first-class flight upgrades

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — The New Orleans City Council will consider cutting Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s salary in 2023 if she doesn’t repay tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars spent improving overseas flights.

Mayor Cantrell has come under national scrutiny since telling Fox 8’s Andres Fuentes on September 8 that she did not plan to reimburse nearly $30,000 spent on first-class flight upgrades during trips to France and Switzerland.

“Any expenses incurred in doing business on behalf of the City of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the City of New Orleans,” Mayor Cantrell said. “One thing is clear; I do my job and will continue to do so with distinction and integrity every step of the way.

A city policy states that traveling government employees are required to seek the lowest fares available. It also states that employees who choose to upgrade from an economy, economy or business class flight are solely responsible for the difference in cost.

Council President Helena Moreno said the city charter gives them the power to cut the mayor’s salary if she doesn’t pay for the improvements. Moreno says Cantrell has fulfilled other facets of the city’s travel policy, including providing timely documentation, and she hopes the mayor will refund the money.

Mayor Cantrell has previously said his travel upgrades were not for luxury purposes but for safety concerns.

“Anyone who wants to wonder how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world that black women walk around in,” Mayor Cantrell said in a statement.

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