SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The flames of Tuesday’s Shreveport City Council meeting are far from being blown out.
At the meeting, on September 12, the council voted 4-3 to fire Shanerika Fleming from her position as city council clerk.
Political analyst and host of American Ground Radio, Stephen Parr, called the meeting “dysfunctional.”
“Ursula Bowman said that she told Chairman Green that there was a fire going on in the city clerk’s office. And I think we saw that fire come out to the surface,” said Parr.
Fleming read an eight-minute statement, full of accusations toward councilmembers, as she explained how she was blindsided by the decision to put her termination on the agenda.
Parr says this public display may have impacted trust.
“The number one reason why bonds fail is because people don’t trust government. That’s just been the trend. Under the Perkins Administration, we had seven different bond issues, only one of them passed,” said Parr.
For the Capital Improvements Committee, this event may have come at a bad time as they are working on a bond package by the end of the year. The package will then be voted on by the city council, which Parr thinks has experienced a power shift.
“Ursula Bowman and Gary Brooks are in charge. They may not have the titles, but they’re the ones with the votes. And whatever way they vote, is what the city council is going to do.”
Parr says that earlier this year, the balance of power lay with Chairman Green, Tabitha Taylor, and Dr. Jackson. He says they simply needed the other democrats, Ursula Bowman or Gary Brooks to join.
However, everything changed when Chairman Green signed illegal pay raises on June 29.
Parr had Councilwoman Bowman on his radio show where she was transparent about her new alliance with Councilman Brooks.
“She didn’t like that she was told that she had to go along with what Tabitha Taylor, Dr. Jackson, and Reverand Green, wanted her to do, based on race. That’s what she said, sitting in this chair in our studio, was that some of it was based on race. Because she was a Black woman, she was supposed to vote with the other Black members of city council,” said Parr.
Moving forward, Parr believes that the city council’s focus should be on the people and regaining trust because nothing moves forward when council members value power.
With that said, Councilmen Bowman and Brooks’ alliance may have stripped the power of Chairman Green.
Parr said, “It’s simply a matter of time before city council acknowledges that fact, and either Chairman Green steps down, or they simply just keep going around him and he lives a very frustrated life as Chairman.”