Being mayor of a big city isn’t an easy job. It comes with a lot of scrutiny and there isn’t one thing you can do that will make everyone happy. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is finding that out the hard way as criticisms over her travel expenses and threats of a recall have been dominating the media. But through all the drama, Cantrell says she is still focused on the city’s residents and remains steadfast in solving the problems facing the city.
Last week the mayor was heavily criticized after she announced she wasn’t planning to reimburse the city money she spent on summer travel.
According to NOLA, Cantrell’s travel expenses were scrutinized by City Council in August after she spent $43,000 on a summer trip to France. Her airfare alone cost roughly $18,000. It’s worth noting that the mayor did work while on the trip, signing an agreement continuing an existing partnership with a small city on the Mediterranean Sea.
During an interview with WGNO, Mayor Cantrell told the publication she won’t shortchange her health.
“The focus on my health and well-being is one that is a priority for me,” said Cantrell “And one that is a priority is because I have to the work on behalf of the citizens of this city. But not only that as it relates to my travel budget, but I also have never once overspent. I have actually underspent.”
But travel expenses are the least of the mayor’s worries.
In August a recall petition was filed against Mayor LaToya Cantrell to have her removed from her position.
According to WDSU, the petition was filed by community activist Belden Batiste, and former City Hall staffer Eileen Carter.
Violent crime in the city and the mayor’s travel expenses were cited as reasons for the petition.
53,000 signatures are needed for the recall to move forward and all signatures must be handwritten.
Eileen Carter wouldn’t give specifics on how many signatures they have thus far, but told WGNO, that they are outpacing their goals.
“I will tell you that we have outpaced ourselves. If we continue at this pace, we will be hitting the target in 5 months rather than 6 months that are given,” she told WGNO.
Regardless of all the scrutiny, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she continues to stay focused on the important tasks at hand.
In a statement, the Mayor’s office told WGNO:
“We remain focused putting the needs of our residents first and delivering results. We remain focused on recruitment and retention of our police officers, which include our $80 million proposal to provide them with higher salaries, enhanced equipment, and upgraded technology, including a $3.7 million state-of-the-art firing range in New Orleans East. We remain focused on fixing our aging infrastructure and expect to begin construction on more than $1 billion in joint infrastructure roadwork projects throughout the City within the next year.”