Over 1200 local elected officials, municipal employees and special guests, representing 303 municipalities and two consolidated parish governments, converged in the City of Monroe this week for the Louisiana Municipal Association’s 82nd Annual Convention, August 1-3 at the Monroe Civic Center.
“It was an honor and a privilege to host the LMA Convention,” said mayor of Monroe, Jamie Mayo. “This is an awesome way to bring all the cities, towns, and village officials together.”
“To have an opportunity to network together, share ideas, go to workshops and fellowship is awesome,” Mayo continued. “Our staff worked extremely hard with the LMA staff to plan and host the Convention and we have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback about the great experience the LMA members have had here.”
Governor John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham, LED Secretary Don Pierson, and National League of Cities President and mayor of Gary, Ind., Karen Freeman-Wilson, who has Louisiana roots, were among those participating the state’s largest gathering of municipalities.
The opening session on Tuesday included an address from Glenn Benton, President of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana and a Gubernatorial Candidate Forum.
Each year the City of Pineville hosts the convention’s prayer breakfast and this year gospel artist Octavia served as the featured entertainment and gave her performance during the Friday morning event.
Local pastor and member of the Duck Dynasty/Duck Commander family, Alan Robertson was the keynote speaker. Robertson’s delivery of hilarious analogies of his family and his transparent recall of the Robertson family’s rise from humble beginnings brought a standing ovation and left the delegates encouraged and inspired.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser presented the fourth annual Lieutenant Governor’s Beautification Awards to seventeen communities and Stacy Neal, LED Director of Community Competitiveness (Don Pierson, LED Secretary), announced the two LED Development Ready Community Awards recipients.
Beautification Award Winners:
•City of Abbeville
•City of Alexandria
•City of Bogalusa
•Town of Cottonport
•City of Gretna
•Town of Haynesville
•Town of Homer
•Town of Jean Lafitte ment
•City of Lake Charles
•Town of Lecompte
•Village of Loreauville
•City of Monroe
•City of Opelousas
•Town of Pearl River
•City of Pineville
•City of West Monroe
LED Development Ready Community Award Winners:
• Morgan City
Saturday’s main events included installation of new officers and multiple salutes to the achievements of Louisiana’s cities, towns, villages and public servants with recognition and awards presentations.
The President’s Award was presented to four individuals for their contributions to municipal government:
• Purvis Morrison - former Mayor, City of Scott and former LMA District F Vice President
• Kathy Richard - former Mayor, Town of Arnaudville and former LMA District F Vice President
• Lawrence Henagan - former Mayor, City of DeQuincy and LMA Past President
•The late Paxton Branch (Posthumous Recognition) - at the time of his passing, he was mayor of the City of Tallulah and LMA District C Vice President, Jimmy Williams, mayor of Sibley and former LMA first vice president, was installed as president of the association on August 3. Mayor Williams succeeds Harry Lewis, mayor of Rayville, as the LMA’s highest ranking officer.
Also installed Saturday night were Michael Chauffe, mayor of Grosse Tete, as LMA first vice president; and Jennifer Vidrine, mayor of Ville Platte, as second vice president, along with 10 District Vice Presidents:
• District A: Peggy Adkins, Mayor, Sarepta
• District B: Ronny Walker, Mayor, Ruston
• District C: Adam Holland, Mayor, Oak Grove
• District D: Rick Allen, Mayor, Leesville
• District E: Nathan Martin, Councilman, Pineville
• District F: Charles James, Mayor, Sunset
• District G: Kenneth Stinson, Mayor, Vinton
• District H: David Toups, Mayor, Addis
• District I: Donald Villere, Mayor, Mandeville
• District J: Rodney Grogan, Mayor, Patterson
“LMA is a strong organization run by an excellent staff,” said Williams. “Mayor Lewis is a man of impeccable character and a straight shooter. I’m honored to follow in his footsteps this year and look forward to working with Mayor Chauffe and Mayor Vidrine and Executive Director, John Gallagher, to keep moving LMA forward.”
A range of topics were presented at the convention workshops. Public and private sector experts presented 21 educational sessions on municipal water systems, blight, public records and open meetings, 2020 Census, 5G technology, ITEP applications, mayor and chief of police relations, and much more.
The convention closed with the unveiling of Baton Rouge as the 2020 host city and the presentation of the much-anticipated, prestigious Community Achievement Awards. Grosse Tete, Patterson, West Monroe, Lake Charles, Simmesport, Addis, Pineville, Alexandria, Woodworth, Carencro, Gretna, Monroe, and Gonzales won LMA’s highest honors in the categories of Community Development, Economic Development, and Basic Services. The City of Gonzales took the coveted “Best of Show” award.
The Community Achievement Awards allows communities to highlight great things that occur in communities over a period of a year,” said Mayor Harry Lewis. “It is always good to be recognized among your peers for doing something that is an asset to your community. It’s great that they can get this kind of recognition.”
LMA is a unified voice for Louisiana’s municipal governments. Our mission is to advocate, educate, and empower local governments to efficiently and effectively serve the citizens of Louisiana. LMA members consisting of 127 villages, 111 towns, 65 cities, and 2 parishes. www.lma.org.