Our Views: New Orleans next mayor should review the city council’s process and its perks

Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 11:34:31 PM. The scandal of it all: Lavish meals at steakhouses costing into the thousands of dollars, ostensibly on city business. A private anniversary dinner, billed to the city because people might
The scandal of it all: Lavish meals at steakhouses costing into the thousands of dollars, ostensibly on city business. A private anniversary dinner, billed to the city because people might want to interrupt Mayor Ray Nagin and his wife at a restaurant. Yes, the above examples are from a decade ago and not from today’s headlines. The disgraced ex-mayor is not the only public official who has lived large on the taxpayer, of course. Such abuses are all too common. That issue has renewed relevance now that mayoral runoff candidate Desiree Charbonnet has made an issue of opponent LaToya Cantrell’s expenses on a City Council credit card. Cantrell repaid about $4,000 in billings to her council card, saying that it was best to reimburse the city to avoid petty disputes over what was or was not proper. The controversy has not been good for Cantrell’s candidacy in the Nov. 18 runoff, but there's a larger point here that should be kept in mind regardless of who wins the mayor's race. We hope that the next mayor will work with the next City Council to look into the perks that members currently enjoy, such as public credit cards. Most people pay business expenses personally and submit receipts and other documentation for reimbursement. That way, there is a paper trail for specific justification of specific expenditures. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, facing a catastrophic budget situation left by Nagin in 2010, tightened up large and small expenditures at City Hall. He had to. This is, after all,...Read more
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