SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL) – 24 hours after an uncharacteristic display at Shreveport’s city council meeting Mayor Adrian Perkins says he doesn’t regret anything he said.
The mayor’s rhetoric was pointed, but he says it was necessary.
“I hate that it had too happen,” said Perkins. “But it had to happen.”
On Tuesday, Perkins called out Shreveport city councilman John Nickelson by name after a controversial vote which saw former Police Chief Henry Whitehorn being rejected for confirmation as the city’s new Chief Administrative Officer.
Perkins said Nickelson went out of his way to discredit Whitehorn. That lead to all of the Republican members of council walking out of the meeting temporarily.
“We have a preeminently qualified person going up for CAO. Even they’re [the Republican city councilmen] saying how reputable he is. And me knowing the motivations behind the scenes was never on the merit of that candidate,” said Perkins. “I wanted to expose what was really going on.”
Perkins claims he was trying to bring to light what he feels are Nickelson’s continual efforts to undermine his administration.
“At every turn, when we are trying to generate revenue. When we are trying to make the city healthier fiscally. When we are trying to get the strongest team possible. It’s just picking at us behind the scenes,” said Perkins.
The mayor feels there is a vendetta.
“I can say there is a trend. And that trend is to obstruct the progress that we are making. Not just in hiring the strongest team we possibly can, but in operations,” said Perkins. “The timing of it, and the methods, makes me think it is a personal thing against me.”
Nickelson says it’s not. He chose not to appear on camera for an interview, instead choosing to issue a statement.
In it, Nickelson’s says his no vote on Whitehorn’s nomination has as much to do with current CAO Sherricka Fields Jones’ job shift as it does Whitehorn’s qualifications.
“Ms. Fields Jones is a talented and widely respected professional who was unanimously confirmed by the Council in March 2019.” said Nickelson. “I see no reason Mayor Perkins should demote her.”
Councilman Greyson Boucher agrees.
“Why, tell me why we’re having to remove her and put her somewhere else. And that question never was answered,” said Boucher. “Give me the facts as to why we need to make this change in city government. Not just because I’m the mayor.”
Butcher says there is dysfunction between city hall and city council.
“To put it very bluntly and frankly, the mayor typically counts to four,” said Boucher. “When he gets his four votes he stops calling. That’s all he needs to appoint somebody.”
“That is 1,000 percent false,” said Perkins. “I just had lunch with councilman Nickelson in January. Councilman Flurry and I probably go to lunch every two weeks together. Exchange Christmas gifts with one another.”
Nickelson says Tuesday’s meeting lacked those pleasantries.
“I do not always agree with Mayor Perkins, but I respect him and his office, and I hope that future Council meetings are free of personal attacks,”
Perkins says he’s willing to work with those who show the same respect.
“I have a job to push this city forward,” he said. “And I am going to do that with all the council members that’s willing to work with me.”