Council turns away clerk of court ahead of budget proposal

Council turns away clerk of court ahead of budget proposal

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City Council turned away Orleans Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell when he showed up Thursday to present his budget.

"The issue is, the mayor wants to run my office, to tell me how to run my office,” Morrell said. “And I'm tellin' him, I don't tell him how to run his office, don't tell me how to run mine."

This was the latest incident in an ongoing dispute over funding for the clerk's office. Morrell said he was told not to make his presentation because his budget does not conform with the amount the mayor allocated. Morrell says he needs $4.5 million to run the office and comply with state law. However, the Landrieu administration says $3.7 million is enough to employ a full staff.

New Orleans Deputy Mayor Andrew Kopplin said the city supports Council President Stacy Head's position that the clerk should provide responses to the council's request for financial information just as other agencies do.

“Clerk Morrell is seeking an appropriation from the City,” Kopplin said in a statement. “He needs to provide information as requested and justify his request as every other agency receiving funds must do."

The council has until Nov. 20 to decide how their $537 million budget should be spent.

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