Council works to repair rift

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 10:22 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- The mayor’s State of the City address found all council members in the same room, something that hadn't happened in weeks.

After walking out of a council meeting more than two weeks ago and failing to show up to subsequent meetings, on Tuesday, Councilman Jon Johnson said things are looking up.

"We are working diligently to make sure that we do whatever we can do to bring the council all back together and make sure that we do what we've been doing for the last two years,” Johnson said.

The statements come across in stark contrast to recent events, though.

In a weekend radio interview, Johnson voiced frustration with the way he feels Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head went about trying to select her replacement in District B.

On Monday, Head called the absences by Johnson and Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell an abuse of the process, one of the worst examples of which she's ever seen.

But, again, Johnson deflected any notion of a rift with his colleagues.

"We've been a team for the last two years, and hopefully we'll continue to be a team for the next two years,” Johnson said, adding there was “absolutely, positively not” any animosity.

The situation did cause some problems, though. The council lost its quorum, which is necessary in taking up important votes.

But other city leaders say they're still forging ahead, controlling what they can control.

"It's disappointing to me, and it's their business and they have to do what they have to do,” said Councilmember-at Large Jackie Clarkson. “It's my business to keep the business of the city going."

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "The executive branch is at work every day. No work at City Hall has stopped. I believe that they can work out their differences. These are things that happen from time to time."

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Hedge-Morrell expressed her frustration with the council's inaction on the proposal to change the way at-large council members are elected. She said she felt marginalized by the District B replacement efforts.

Both Johnson and Hedge-Morrell have said they'll be at the next regular meeting.

 

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