SANTA BRINGS BIG CHANGES TO SHREVEPORT CITY HALL

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Shreveport Attorney John Settle
Opinion by John Settle

Actually the delivery will be a little late… like 2 days. And whether the citizens of Shreveport will be happy with Santa’s deliveries – – in the long run – – is a story yet to be told. Saturday, December 27 will be historic… and not just for the first Duck Commander Independence Bowl. On that day Ollie Tyler and the 2015-2019 City Council will be sworn into office.

Coming round the bend.
Transitions AHEA.

As if this writing (Wednesday, December 17), the new Mayor had not announced a transition team much less potential new hires for key positions like Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), City Attorney, and the like. Unconfirmed rumors are that former Shreveport Fire Chief Brain Crawford will be the CAO selection. Crawford served a few years as assistant CAO before becoming the Plano (Texas) fire chief. Crawford’s wife did not move to Texas; she is a Caddo Parish school teacher.

Tyler ExplainsTyler did very little real campaigning after the November 4 primary – – choosing to coast into office on her name recognition and healthy campaign warchest. Seemingly that 4 week hiatus until her December 6 victory would have given her ample time to assemble a transition team to hit the ground running shortly after her victory – – but not so. In the past, a team was named within days of the election.

For all practical purposes, the time for a transition planning has come and gone. Many of the higher ups at City Hall have been updating their resumes (and packing their bags) since the November primary (or even before)- – depending on how close they are to Tyler insiders (Lynn Braggs, Linda Biernacki, attorney William Bradford and Bonnie Anderson, among others) and how much they believed Tyler’s disclaimers that she would not be a “Glover girl”. To date the high dollar Glover administrative employees are still on the job… or at least on the City payroll; how much longer, and how much real work they are doing, is an open question.

Not his girl???
Not his girl???

Just as important, or more so to many who closely watch City Hall, is the first meeting of the new City Council on the same day – – after their “taking of office” ceremony. Four new council members (Willie Bradford, James Flurry, Stephanie Lynch and Jerry Bowman, Jr.) will join three holdover councilmen – Oliver Jenkins, Mike Corbin and Jeff Everson. The meeting should be short – and maybe sweet; election of the Council chairperson is the only agenda item in what is generally a perfunctory gathering.

Joe moving on...
Joe moving on…

The Council chair serves for one year; Joe Shyne is the current chairman. Under the rotation system followed Jeff Everson is next in line for this seat. However newcomer Willie Bradford wants this spot – and he is campaigning to be chairman.

Bradford, the new representative from District A, cites precedence for his election as chairman – Oliver Jenkins was elected chair his first year on the Council. Bradford is also pushing the fact that his district (A) has not held the chairmanship is over 8 years. Both Everson and Bradford need 3 votes for the seat – – apparently a new council representative will be the critical vote. The real fireworks at City Hall will not s tart until after the first of the year.

Let's hope...
Let’s hope…

The first real Council meeting, which will presumably be attended by new Mayor Tyler, will be on January 13; whether or not Tyler will address the Council is unknown. To date she has not reached out the newly elected Council members; if she follows her school board leadership model she will rarely be seen, much less heard, at City Hall. Many believe Santa will also leave a bag of coal at City Hall for current mayor Cedric Glover whose 8 years as mayor ends when Tyler takes her oath.

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