Tom Arceneaux takes the oath of office for Mayor of Shreveport.
Wondering why the mayoral inauguration and initial city council meeting was held at 10 am on New Year’s Eve? Blame the Shreveport City Charter. The Charter states that “The elective officers shall serve for terms of four (4) years from the twenty-first day following their election and until their respective successors are elected and qualified.” The runoff was held Dec. 10, so twenty-one days after fell on Dec. 31.
The first meeting of the 2023 Shreveport City Council.
The same is true of the requirement for the noon City Council meeting on Inauguration Day. The Charter determines that, too, saying “The council shall meet in the council chamber at the seat of the government for organization at noon on the date its members take office, at which time it shall elect from its number a chairman and a vice chairman, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the council. It shall also elect a clerk of council, who shall not be elected from its own members. It shall also provide for an order of succession to the position of chairman of the council should the position become vacant.”
Mayor Tom Arceneaux and staff have spent the week thus far moving into offices at Government Plaza, getting email addresses and city phones, figuring out the city phone system and all the other things that happen when you take a new- albeit very important- new job.
The new-to-the-council members; Gary Brooks of District B (downtown), Jim Taliaferro of District C and Ursula Bowman, District G, are also going through new member orientation, getting city email addresses, phones and computers. They will all need to hit the ground running; the first ‘real’ City Council meeting is this coming Monday, Jan. 10. The Monday work session will give the councilmembers a chance to get a feel for the processes of how the council meetings work, and then Tuesday is the voting meeting. There are several layover issues that will be up for vote by the new council on that day.
(A Special Meeting of the City Council has been called for Friday, Jan. 6 at 11:30 am for the election of the Chairman of the Council due to a snafu in the original vote on Dec. 31).
Dec. 29, 2023
The reins of city government will be handed over Saturday, Dec. 31 at 10 am as Shreveport Mayor-elect Tom Arceneaux is sworn in for a four-year term of office.
The inauguration is free and open to the public.
Arceneaux, a former City Councilmember and current practicing attorney who has done legal work for multiple municipalities, will be sworn in at the Shreveport Convention Center along with the members of the Shreveport City Council. He will become the 57th person to hold the position and his name will be added to the list of luminaries and more than a few interesting characters who have held the office before him.
Those characters include John Sewall, Shreveport’s first elected mayor, who took office in 1839. By the time he was elected, Sewall already had quite a reputation as a gunslinger, a duelist with more than one victim to his credit. Sewall himself, using a borrowed gun, was killed in a duel in Elysian Fields in 1841.
Along the way, there have been many others who have served as Shreveport’s chief executive, including one who was also the mayor of Homer, La., one who served a single month, one who was killed before serving his term, one who was forbidden to serve by Federal authorities, one who was born in Wales, one born in Ireland, one born in Germany, one mayor who was the son of a previous mayor, and one, before term limits were enacted, who served for 12 years (Clyde E. Fant).
Clyde E. Fant, Shreveport’s longest serving mayor.
On Saturday, Arceneaux will take his place on this historical list.
The Mayor-elect has shared information about his transition committees that he says are responsible for advising him on “transitional responsibilities related to operations that occur between Election Day and the Mayor-Council Inauguration to be held on December 31, 2022.” Members include:
1. Administrative Transition Committee
2. Public Safety Transition Committee
This is a Long Range Survey Committee that will assist the Mayor-Elect in developing citizen led strategies to reduce crime. It will host discussion sessions with the public, and following the inauguration this committee will provide the Mayor an assessment of its findings.
Jim Roberts – Chair
3. Blight Abatement Transition Committee
This is a Long Range Survey Committee that will assist the Mayor-Elect in identifying existing blight abatement laws, successful blight strategies practiced in like-sized cities, and key areas of concern in the community. Following the inauguration, this committee will provide the Mayor an assessment of its findings.
LeVette Fuller – Chair
4. Business and Economic Development Transition Committee
This is a Long Range Survey Committee that will assist the Mayor-Elect by developing a report that outlines key impediments to new and expanding businesses within the City of Shreveport. This committee will also identify ways for the City of Shreveport to encourage Minority, Woman, and Veteran owned business participation in city contracting. Following the inauguration, this committee will provide the Mayor an assessment of its findings.
Rich Lamb – Chair
Dr. James Hobley
5. Community Building Transition Committee
This is a Long Range Survey Committee that will coordinate community outreach efforts with the Mayor-Elect following his inauguration. This committee will work to develop suggested youth, arts, sports, music, and outreach programming to support the efforts of the City of Shreveport.
Wendell Delaney Co-Chair
Waynette Ballengee Co-Chair
6. Finance Transition Committee
This committee is responsible for reviewing the City budget and advising the Mayor-Elect of all accounting, actuarial, and practical matters related to the Certified Audited Financial Report. This committee will provide the Mayor-Elect a report on key items related to city finances.
Robert Dean – Chair