Top 10 Successes of Mayor Perkins in His First Year?
Its no secret Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins stumbled coming out of the blocks as Mayor of our city.
He has been roundly criticized for several questionable deals. One of the biggest was his decision to change insurance carriers right out of the gate. This debacle cost our city money and cast a shadow over his administration. He admittedly said "he stubbed his toe in handling this deal".
This is just one example of actions that have put him under a microscope in this community. I have personally been very critical of Perkins repeatedly on the radio. I'm one of thousands of folks who really had high hopes about the future of our city once he was elected.
But are his critics too harsh? I strongly believe in holding public officials accountable for their actions and calling them out when they are not selflessly serving the people. But do we sit back and applaud these elected officials when they do have successes? Far too often we do not.
So I have been working on something for a week or so to come up with a list of the Top 10 successes of Mayor Perkins during his first term in office. I solicited responses from several local officials, other reporters, my colleagues and friend. I even asked the Mayor's office to send me a list of their accomplishments. I have combined this list into the 10 I think have had or will have the biggest impact on our community.
For those of you who think I'm just kissing the Mayor's %^$, please move on and ignore this article. This is clearly not meant for you. I want to seriously look at the big picture and see if we can find some common ground for making progress in this city.
1) Keith Hanson as Chief Technology Officer
This item was on the list of everyone I talked to. Hanson has been working diligently to improve technology in our city and save money.
2) Fair Share program growth
Fair Share numbers increased by 5% to an all-time high of 19%. The Mayor's office submitted this item. I have not seen a full report, but this would indeed be great progress in spreading more of the city's business around to small businesses.
3) Enthusiasm and stamina
Perkins is young and energetic. He seems to be at every event. You can catch him working out with police and firefighters early in the morning and out late in the evening at school functions or other civic events.
For the most part, Perkins has surrounded himself with quality staff people. His decision to keep some of the best and brightest minds is a big win for me. From Shelly Ragle at Spar to Bonnie Moore at Community Development to Barbara Featherston in the Water and Sewer Department. These ladies have such a wealth of historic knowledge and are serious assets. His decision to elevate Ben Raymond to police chief is also a big win in my book.
5) 2020 Budget
Balanced budget that the Mayor's office says cut expenditures by 4.5%. You will find debate about this one (it was submitted by the Mayor's staff). But I do think this Mayor is very budget minded and will work to beef up our reserves which are critically low. I will be watching this one closely to see if it deserves to be on this list.
6) Social media presence
Mayor Perkins is very active on social media and interacts with constituents regularly on his Facebook page. He also posts videos and photos of his daily events to keep citizens informed about what's going on in city government and his administration. This is a good thing and opens up government to more people.
7) Consent Decree Progress
We now know much more about the consent decree work that has been completed and the massive amount of work still to be done. The Mayor has changed the Managers for this program and they will be renegotiating the requirements of the federal government to see it we can get better terms.
8) Sanitation Fee
This was one of the first actions of the new Mayor. It was also good to see Perkins negotiate and compromise with the Council on his proposal. He wanted an $18 dollar monthly fee, but they settled on $7 dollars. This was enough to give sanitation workers some money and help shore up the reserve fund just a bit.
9) Crime Fighting
This is really not the Mayor's doing, but it is a success, despite what you might hear from some detractors. The Mayor's staff says the numbers show a 45 year low in part 1 crime. I hope this trend continues.
10) Promotion of Downtown
During his inauguration he talked about improving our downtown. He put his money where his mouth is and purchased a home in our downtown community. We are now seeing more revitalization efforts in our downtown than we've seen in many years.