NEW ORLEANS – City Councilwoman-At-Large Stacy Head calls the recent walkout and absences from council meetings by council members Jon Johnson and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell an “abuse of process.”
Head made the comments one day after Hedge-Morrell and Johnson took to the airwaves to talk about their actions.
The two walked out of a heated council meeting after a debate over whether or not to hold public hearings on a new way to elect at-large council members. The pair has also missed one special meeting and one regular session since that time.
Johnson and Hedge-Morrell talked on the radio about their displeasure over the majority of the rest of the council’s request for a public hearing over a possible change to the way at-large members are elected. And, the pair said they had some concerns over Head’s choice of a replacement candidate for her district after she was elected to council-at-large.
Both denied that any type of coordinated action was taken to miss meetings and said that Head herself has left meetings for personal business.
Head said she, and other council members do sometimes have to leave early, but never -- she said -- at the cost of losing a quorum.
Head called the recent events "unprecedented."
“This is one of the worst examples of, I think, abuse of process that I’ve seen,” she said. “If you don’t like the way that the vote is gonna go, you can’t just get your friends and leave to deprive the city of work from council members.”
The absence of Johnson and Hedge-Morrell, coupled with the vacant seat for District B, has left the council unable to vote on any measures.
Johnson and Hedge-Morrell told WBOK they intend to be back for the next regular council meeting, which is set for early June. If an interim member isn’t chosen for District B by then, Mayor Landrieu may have to appoint one.