New Orleans City Council recommends nationwide search for next NOPD leader
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council has responded to Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s invitation to submit their “ideas and suggestions” on the search for outgoing Police Chief Shaun Ferguson’s replacement, according to a new letter obtained by Fox 8.
Cantrell wrote a letter to the council on Friday (Dec. 9), saying Ferguson’s departure allows for “an opportunity to engage in a dialog (sic) about the next superintendent.”
The council responded Monday, recommending Cantrell appoint an interim chief, launch a national search, and inclusion of council members in the process.
“This is one of the most critical positions in city government, especially now,” the letter reads. “The success of the appointee is vital to our city’s safety and the future of the NOPD. We cannot afford to fail and welcome the opportunity to engage in a responsible and collaborative process.”
“(Cantrell) can choose who she wants as interim,” Council President Helena Moreno told Fox 8. “But at the end of the day, when we are talking about the next police chief, the permanent position, we believe that there should be a very stringent process when it comes to vetting that particular applicant and I think it’s the people’s right to know.”
Ferguson announced his retirement on Tuesday and Cantrell appeared poised to appoint recently promoted Deputy Superintendent Jonette Williams, sources told Fox 8, which drew criticism from community leaders and councilmembers alike.
Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission says a hasty appointment would be going against the wishes of voters who approved a city charter change to give the council the authority to confirm or deny all mayoral appointees after Jan. 1, 2023.
“Here’s an opportunity to start building trust with the community, the represent the public that approved that charter change vote by a 60% margin and do what’s right for the public,” Goyeneche said.
“We really want to make sure the top and best candidate gets selected,” Moreno said.
Cantrell has invited council members to meet with her before Ferguson’s last day on Dec. 22 to discuss “ideas and suggestions.”
Council members will be allowed to submit ideas and suggestions within the next week, before Fri., Dec. 16.
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