Finally…the long election season ended Saturday, December 8.
Shreveport’s new mayor and the new City Council will be sworn into office on Saturday, December 29.
Adrian Perkins will start his first term as mayor.
Willie Bradford, Jerry Bowman, and James Flurry will start their second consecutive term on the council.
Levette Fuller, John Nickelson, Grayson Boucher, and James Green will also take office as council members.
Only Green has prior council experience.
So what should Shreveport voters be expecting after the changing of the guard at city hall, starting on January 2?
For starters, all Council members should support Perkins on all his initiatives for at least 90 days, if not longer.
Secondly, the four non incumbent Council members should focus on learning how Shreveport government works. Put a different way, who and how to refer questions/complaints from citizens to proper city employees.
Thirdly, those newcomers should put aside all their campaign platforms other than service to their constituents.
The implementation of new ideas, programs or projects involving city personnel and/or funds should stay in their closets for the honeymoon interval.
As the new mayor, Perkins should be open and accessible to elected officials, city department heads and citizens throughout the city.
Perkins should take deliberate and measured steps in deciding who will be part of his team, from Chief Administrative Officer (CA0), city attorney, other cabinet members, and department heads.
And if that means naming a short term interim CAO to make sure the trains run on time, then he should do just that.
Perkins should reach out for help from citizens who can provide both knowledge and assistance in reviewing city departments, suggesting new ways of providing city services and/or efficiencies that can be implemented to have the government machine run better, faster, and at less expense.
The new mayor should manage citizens expectations of an instant fix for crime reduction, new and better jobs, deteriorating neighborhoods, and other citizen concerns.
Shreveport citizens should not expect overnight miracles from Perkins and his administration.
They have patience in waiting for incremental changes.
And at the same time, they should do their part, as small as it may be, to help move the city forward.
For starters give the new mayor the benefit of the doubt when judging his performance.
Secondly, acknowledge he is human and do not expect overnight miracles.
Thirdly, respect his private life, and let him actually have a private life.
And lastly, do your part. That can be a simple as not littering, or picking up trash as you walk.
If nothing more, adopt a positive attitude for our incoming mayor and our city.
(This column was published in The Shreveport Times on Sunday, December 16, 2018)