Senior members of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration are vetting a handful of candidates to head the city’s Taxicab and For Hire Vehicle Bureau and could decide who will lead the embattled agency by the end of the year, the city’s director of Safety and Permits told the City Council on Friday.
Whoever is picked will replace Malachi Hull, who was quietly dumped by the city over the Fourth of July weekend, a few months after Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux issued a scathing report that accused Hull of “gross negligence.”
The inspector general’s report said Hull failed to make sure the bureau’s inspectors were properly trained and lied to investigators about whether he was aware of how unprepared they were.
Landrieu recruited Hull to New Orleans from Atlanta in 2011 to overhaul the troubled Taxicab Bureau, which was then under investigation by federal agents following a bribery scandal.
Since Hull’s exit, the city has received 12 applications for the job, said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ava Rogers, who has been running the office in the interim. That list has been cut to five finalists, who are in the process of being “vetted by senior management,” Rogers said. None of the candidates are internal.
Jared Munster, director of the Safety and Permits Department, told the council during budget hearings Friday that a decision on those applicants is likely in “the next month or so.”
Rogers, however, said there is no guarantee that the city will decide to hire any of the finalists.