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Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell's camp responds to questions over the pace of her transition

LaToya Cantrell (FOX 8 Photo/FILE) LaToya Cantrell (FOX 8 Photo/FILE)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell won in a landslide in November and will make history when she is inaugurated as the city’s first female mayor in May.

Still, Cantrell is getting attention for something else: not having announced a transition team before 2017 came to an end.

"It's untraditional to not have a major press conference within six weeks of winning a mayor's race, but it's also untraditional to have a nearly six-month transition. But now it's the new year, we should be looking for Cantrell to announce that transition effort and start announcing key officials pretty soon,” said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

Some local mayoral candidates have held press conferences the day after winning the election. Cantrell did not.

"Sometimes silence can be deafening, and one power that the mayor has, and Mayor-Elect Cantrell will have to learn how to use it, is to control the message, to frame the debate. She can make a statement and that's what all of us will be talking about for days and weeks and months to come,” said Sherman.

Cantrell spokeswoman Karen Carvin Shachat issued a statement:

“I agree that the mayor-elect has not done everything in the traditional manner.  She has her own unique style and manner and people saw that in the campaign.

"However, she is deeply committed to running a smooth and excellent transition which is launching publicly tonight and she will be announcing next week the members of the transition team and holding a press event.  Since the election she has been deeply involved in reviewing briefing materials provided by the current administration in preparation for the transition.”

"The question on everybody's mind is who this mayor-elect will surround herself with when she takes office, who will be the chief administrative officer, who will be the city attorney? That's the single greatest way for her to exude confidence to the citizens of New Orleans,” said Sherman.

And Cantrell will also have to decide who her police chief will be. She said during the campaign she will conduct a national search, but that current NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison is welcome to apply.

Cantrell will succeed a mayor with a strong personality and a national presence.

"Of course, a lot of people are watching to see if Cantrell will keep the current police chief or how she will conduct her search for a replacement. Mitch Landrieu leaves big shoes to be filled, there's so many challenges facing our city and so many opportunities. I would suggest to the mayor-elect to pick those few signature issues that you promised voters and focus on those because there's too much to handle at one time. She should chart her focus very narrowly at first,” said Sherman.

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