New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant, who announced Tuesday he would retire this fall amid mounting criticism of his agency’s handling of Saturday’s floods, will earn $175,400 a year through his pension, according to the city.
Grant announced his retirement just before a hearing at which members of the City Council tore into his agency for making misleading statements to the public about the state of the city's drainage pumps during the storm.
New Orleans flood fallout: Officials lose jobs; revelation of inoperable pumps 'insulting to the public'
Pumping stations serving the two New Orleans neighborhoods hit hardest by Saturday's flood w…
Though officials had insisted for three days that the pumps were operating at their full capacity, they eventually conceded that two critical pumping stations were operating at between 52 percent and 63 of their full capacity.
Thursday morning, after the city again raised the number of pumps that had been offline Saturday, two more resignations were announced: Joe Becker, the S&WB's general superintendent, and Lisa Martin, the agency's communications director.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu had already said that he wanted the agency's board to fire both officials.
Grant has long been a fixture in city government and was a key member of Landrieu’s staff, serving as both head of the S&WB and deputy mayor overseeing capital and infrastructure work, coordinating all construction work for the city and the water board.
He served previously as chief administrative officer under Mayor Marc Morial and held positions with state government, the Port of New Orleans and Ascension Parish.
Grant will be eligible to continue receiving health care coverage from the S&WB and will be paid for unused sick days and leave, said Erin Burns, spokeswoman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Grant, who was hired to lead the S&WB in 2014 for $210,000 a year, said he had just learned that his staff “was not forthright, which is unacceptable,” and he would leave after the end of hurricane season.
After several days of statements and information, then new statements and updated informatio…
Those issues were not raised in his short resignation letter, released by the city Wednesday night.
“I have served the city of New Orleans honorably in three administrations and been a professional public administrator for over 40 years,” Grant wrote to Landrieu. “However, I will retire from service as the executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans effective Nov. 30.”
He added, “It has been an honor to serve you and our community.”
The possibility that Grant would leave his position was apparently first raised Monday night, though the decision wasn’t finalized until the next day.
Public Works Director Mark Jernigan was called into Landrieu’s office on Tuesday afternoon after facing questions from council members angry about what they saw as the slow pace of clearing out catch basins. Landrieu later announced Jernigan had resigned.
Details of his retirement package were not immediately available.
Jernigan joined the city after retiring from the Army Corps of Engineers. His final post was as deputy commander and chief of staff for the corps' New Orleans district.