“All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she has no intention of reimbursing the city for nearly $30,000 in travel upgrades that appear to run counter to the city’s stated travel policy.
That policy, according to 10-page memo from city Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano states that “Employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available.” It goes on to state that “Employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost.”
The memo also states that the reimbursement is supposed to come within 20 days.
Cantrell was asked whether she intended to pay back the cost of her upgrades on several trips.
“All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,” Cantrell said. “One thing is clear. I do my job and I will continue to do it with distinction, with dignity and integrity every step of the way.”
Cantrell had previously stated that her choices to fly first-class or business class have to do with “safety, not luxury,” and that she is protecting herself in order to be there for her young child.
In March, the mayor spent more than $2,800 to fly first-class to Miami for a U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering.
That’s about nine times the $342 NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson paid to fly economy to the same meeting. Other staffers paid $677.
In January, the mayor spent more than $2,300 to fly first-class to a Conference of Mayors’ meeting in Washington, DC. The rest of her entourage paid $250.
The mayor has now racked up more than $29,000 in extra airfare. (Courtesy of WWL)