New Orleans CAO will enforce policy requiring Mayor Cantrell to pay back first-class flight upgrades

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 12:15 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Gilbert Montano says he will fulfill his duties as New Orleans’ chief administrative officer and enforce a city policy requiring Mayor LaToya Cantrell to pay back nearly $30,000 for first-class flight upgrades.

Montano said Friday (Sept. 30), after weeks of reviewing the city policy, that he will inform the mayor after a city attorney was brought in to confirm that she is in fact a city employee and the policy applies to her.

“Upon receiving that information, it turns out that that is applicable to her, and in all candor, I have to fulfill my duties as the CAO and ensure that those rules and responsibilities are effectuated to everybody,” Montano says. “It’s something I’m confident the mayor and I can sit down and discuss and resolve and have a solution very quickly. I’m hopeful and I’m confident for that. But it’s important that this gets behind us at some point.”

The city policy states all traveling city employees are required to seek the lowest fares available or reimburse the city for deluxe accommodations.

If the mayor refuses, as she said she planned on doing earlier this month, the city council will move forward with legislation to dock her pay in 2023.

Mayor Cantrell reiterated on Tuesday that the travel upgrades were not for luxury, but for her health and well-being. She said the threat of COVID has prompted her to fly first class in some cases and she’s previously cited security concerns.

“And I stand by [that] all day long,” she said.

“Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world Black women walk in,” Mayor Cantrell previously said in a statement.

Mayor Cantrell’s statements about security on planes has been brought into question after FOX 8 investigators combed through over 600 hours of video showing her coming and going from a Jackson Square apartment with no security detail in some cases.

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