NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans Communication Director Gregory Joseph has been suspended by the City Council for his actions during the height of the recall effort targeting Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“This is not meant to be a punishment to Mayor Cantrell, it’s meant to be a punishment to Mr. Joseph,” Councilmember JP Morell said.
In a council meeting on Tuesday, Oct.17, city council members ruled that Joseph violated city and state laws by arranging for the distribution of a publicly-funded mailer promoting Cantrell and her accomplishments during the ‘NOLATOYA” recall.
“I think the evidence is irrefutable,” Morell said. “Everything Mr. Swanzek said today, every item he laid out was supported by evidence, much of it provided by Mr. Joseph.”
During the meeting, six charges were brought against Joseph, which he was found guilty of. The charges read, according to the city council:
- Charge 1 — Gregory Joseph did intentionally institute, participate in and oversee a publicly funded advertising campaign intended to garner public support for Cantrell and to sway the outcome of the recall effort, in direct violation of state law.
- Charge 2 — Gregory Joseph did intentionally provide false testimony under oath before the Governmental Affairs Committee on Aug. 31 regarding the roll of the campaign in connection with the City Of New Orleans 2022 mailer campaign.
- Gross Misconduct
- Neglect of Duty
In a statement after the suspension, Cantrell called the council’s vote “deplorable.”
“(T)he New Orleans City Council has used their power to publicly humiliate those making daily sacrifices to advance this city, rather than using their power to actually legislate and move this city forward,” said Cantrell.
Cantrell previously stated she had no plans to fire Joseph. She made a statement on the situation at a weekly press conference in September.
“Listen, I’m not firing anyone. I’m supporting. I’m supporting a city employee who is now joined, who is now a part of a community of city employees that have been disrespected, villainized, discriminated against.”
Joseph has been suspended without pay for the remainder of Cantrell’s term as mayor.
“We wanted to make it clear that any shenanigans to try and circumvent this process, would resolve in a way that’s definitive,” said Morell.
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