New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has canceled an upcoming trip to Singapore, where she was scheduled to participate at the World Cities Summit on climate change issues, amid criticism of multiple recent international trips she has taken in just one 5 week window.
If Cantrell had continued with her scheduled trip, it would have been her third international trip in just over a month, WDSU reported.
As WWL reported, Cantrell would have been the only U.S. mayor scheduled to speak at the World Cities Summit in Singapore.
Travel documents obtained through public records requests by WWL were received incomplete and showed expenses, including $9,810 for airfare for a trip to Ascona, Switzerland, to sign a "Sister City" agreement. The trip also included a visit to a jazz festival.
On Cantrell's trip to Switzerland, she was accompanied by another city employee who went to handle social media and various photos of the trip were posted to the mayor's Instagram account.
Communications Director Gregory Joseph defended the travel in a statement, writing, “When she travels, when she takes the city with her, she's going on city taxpayer funding. And it's very important for her to be doing these jobs.”
City Council members in New Orleans are starting to get negative feedback about the trips from constituents. Council President Helena Moreno and Vice-President J.P. Morrell have reportedly introduced a measure that would limit non-essential travel for elected officials to $1,000 per person. That proposal will go up for a vote on Aug. 4.
Joseph said in a statement addressing Cantrell's cancellation of the Singapore trip that she "has decided to forgo the climate change meetings at the World Cities Summit, and instead embed herself with the NOPD so she can witness firsthand what our officers need in order to increase public safety."