NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After getting called out for a lack of transparency in her administration, Mayor Latoya Cantrell responded to critics Friday (April 12).
From stricter enforcement on traffic cameras, delays on the new airport terminal, and a trip to Cuba, some city council members feel the mayor's office is keeping them out of the loop.
“It’s surprising, I can tell you that the council members I’ve been speaking to is the notice we just received is the first notice, so it’s a surprise. Obviously, disappointing,” Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno said.
The mayor denies these accusations.
“I absolutely keep individuals in the loop. If you want to know something, you can just ask me, and I check my own email, and I have not received any questions directly as to someone not receiving adequate information,” Cantrell said.
However, when her administration lowered the threshold in school zones to activate speeding tickets in February, council members unanimously said they weren't notified about the policy change.
“The first I got a phone call about it actually was from a reporter the Friday before the story broke, saying have you heard anything about the school zones? And I said no, I hadn’t heard of anything yet,” Councilmember Joe Giarrusso said.
Cantrell said despite the backlash, she stands behind the call.
"Hey, it was a policy decision that was based on data, and I made that decision, because at the end of the day, the one person that's accountable is Latoya Cantrell," Cantrell said.
The mayor also explained the purpose behind her recent unannounced trip to Cuba.
"At one point, 184 years ago, the New Orleans port was the number one, or the largest trade partner with Cuba, so it's not a matter of if, it's when the embargo is lifted, that I want the city of New Orleans to be ready," Cantrell said.
The city made an announcement Thursday that the new airport terminal previously scheduled to be completed next month, will be delayed until fall, another topic city council members say the mayor's office didn't give them a heads up about.
"I am always accessible, not only to the New Orleans City Council, but every resident and visitor of the city of New Orleans, and that has truly been demonstrated," Cantrell said.
Cantrell said public safety is her top priority, and her administration will be focusing on stricter enforcement for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians this year.