City Council moves for ouster of Mayor Cantrell’s communications director

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 11:56 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2023 at 12:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council on Tuesday (Sept. 12) leveled allegations of incompetence, neglect of duty and gross misconduct against Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s communications director, setting the stage for his forced removal from the position.

The council voted 4-2 to formalize the accusations against Gregory Joseph, and has sent a letter to Cantrell recommending his dismissal by this Friday. If Cantrell does not agree to the request, the Council plans to hold a hearing on Joseph’s conduct and employment status on Oct. 3.

“It has been evidenced since this process began that Mr. Joseph does not care about the law, process or procedure whatsoever,” said Council president J.P. Morrell. “It’s unfortunate that we have come to this point, but this is where we are because Mr. Joseph chose to bring it to this point.”

The measure was opposed by councilmembers Eugene Green and Freddie King. Oliver Thomas was not present for the vote.

“Gross misconduct ... gross misconduct ... it could be more misconduct, but I recognize that’s a legal action,” Green said Tuesday. “In general, I don’t agree with the removal proceedings that are being brought. I felt there could be a little more consulting and that there could be alternatives to this measure.”

Cantrell has previously voiced her support for Joseph, commending him for a “great job,” even as the aide has come under City Council scrutiny for his role in producing taxpayer-funded mailers touting the mayor’s accomplishments during the height of this year’s failed recall campaign.

Joseph made a combative appearance before the Council two weeks ago, when he was questioned about the legality of the mailer, how it was conceived and funded, and whether city procurement rules were flouted in its production.

If the majority of the Council votes in favor, Joseph can be dismissed from duty or suspended under the Home Rule Charter authority.

Joseph ignored reporters’ questions Tuesday, and an emailed request for a response to the council’s vote went unanswered.

“To casually and repeatedly provide knowing falsehoods to the council and the public in a hearing ... for him to utterly disregard the vote today, it tracks,” Morrell said.

“I think the citizens of this city, who are under a tremendous amount of taxes and fees and burdens in this city, the idea that you could have a civil servant throw away over 50 grand on a political mailer to benefit their boss, then kind of flip the city off and say, ‘Haha, nothing you can do to me.’ I think that sends a tremendously poor message to the citizens.”

Morrell said this move by council does not prevent law enforcement agencies from filing state charges related to the public dollars spent on the mailers.


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