SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — On Monday morning Shreveport mayor Adrian Perkins provided what he described as a ‘progress report’ on a bevy of topics related to the city and his administration.
“I’ve realized that getting it right is way, way more important than speed to this,” said Perkins when describing one of the lessons he learned in his five months on the job.
From implementing a city-wide trash fee to the continual fight against crime, to a controversial insurance broker change, it has been a fast five months for the mayor.
“I know that people wanted change, and we’re still just as anxious to do it, but when we bring about change in various decisions, various areas of city government, we’re going to make sure that we take the adequate amount of time to make those decisions,” said Perkins.
The mayor says he’s pleased with the job Police Chief Ben Raymond is doing. So far this year property and violent crimes are down over 10%. Perkins campaigned heavily on change at the top of the police force.
“So it’s my job to make sure that [citizens] feel safe. And that is one of those things that you’ve got to make sure you are very effective in communicating and let them know,” said Perkins. “More officers are on the streets patrolling. My officers are charged with making sure they get to know the grandmother sitting on the porch. The little kids in the street. They really want the communities to know they are out there protecting and serving them.”
Perkins was a tad more critical of his own handling of an insurance broker change, which in the end cost the city money.
He says if he had it to do over again he would not have handled the change the same way.
“I would not., actually. And this is hindsight, right. At the time, we did it in good faith. We were so anxious to bring about the change that people wanted,” said Perkins. “But looking back on it, we would have taken our time and done more research. Doing due diligence on a short time frame doesn’t allow you to look under all the rocks that you need to look under. So looking back on it, no we wouldn’t. We stubbed our toe a bit. And we’re going to learn from it.”
While that decision cost tax-payers, he says technological advancements put in place with high-speed internet have saved the city $200,000. He’s confident other initiatives will bear fruit, like the Summer Jobs Program.
“That Summer Jobs Program is going to tie-in our local high school kids and some of our college student’s that have went away to the city government here, and to local industry,” said Perkins. “So that’s going to be huge for our community. I actually looking forward to seeing the return that we get over the long term.”
Perkins says the program will tie the up-and-coming workforce to the local healthcare industry, and hundreds of well-paying positions currently available, as well as dozens of private businesses needing to get positions filled.
At the same time, Perkins says new businesses are interested in setting up shop in Shreveport.
“We’re also chasing some much larger fish right now,” said Perkins. “That we are pretty confident we’ll be able to land.”
The mayor is equally as confident in the public supporting his agenda and what he’s hoping to accomplish in office.
“Absolutely. I mean everywhere I go around the city, absolutely. People talk about, even if they acknowledge a growing pain, like it’s A-Ok. We’re 100 days in. And we’ll have some growing pains,” said Perkins. “We’ll have some big decisions to make and we won’t always get it right, but what I’ve stressed to my staff is to make sure we learn from any kind of mistakes that we make. We have 3.5 years to deliver to the public and what we hear is great things all the time.”