Grambling gets new budget, mayor pro tem

Pictured from left to right are Grambling City Magistrate Ivan Daigs, City Attorney Pamela Breedlove, City Clerk Pamela Stringfellow and Chief of Police Tommy Clark Jr. being sworn into office by Judge Bruce Hampton during Thursday’s City Council meeting. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

GRAMBLING — It was a mix of old and new as Grambling’s City Council held its first monthly meeting of the new year Thursday night at City Hall.

The City Council voted in a new mayor pro tempore in new alderman Delores Wilkerson Smith and adopted a new budget for 2023 while also maintaining a status quo by approving to return its four non-elected city officials to their positions under new Mayor Alvin Bradley.

Smith garnered three of the five votes for mayor pro tem as she was joined by returning Council member Kathy Holmes Jiles and fellow new members John Brown Jr., Jerry Lewis, and Davaria Ponton for the new Council’s first official meeting with Bradley officiating.

The new Council’s first order of business was adopting a new budget for 2023 after Grambling’s former Council failed to adopt one during their final meeting together in December.

Bradley said there were some adjustments made before the new budget was voted on and adopted.

“There were parts of the budget that had been put in wrong line-item columns that had to be corrected,” Bradley said. “It was that and making the final adjustments that had to be made after the end of December.”

Bradley said those adjustments didn’t majorly affect the city’s near $4,000,000 budget.

“It didn’t change a whole lot, but it did change,” Bradley said. “And it did change because of the adjustments that had been made that had not been recorded yet (in early December during the old Council’s final meeting). 

“But the main changes were moving things to different columns so that they could be recorded in the right categories.”

Bradley said Smith, an accountant by trade, played a role in catching some of those needed adjustments.

“We were told by the (Louisiana Municipal Association) that we could meet before we got sworn in, so that’s what we did,” Bradley said. “We met with the accountant to go over those figures in the budget. We all pitched in on it.”

Bradley added that the budget will continue to be reviewed on at least a quarterly basis.

“It was recommended by the accountant that the budget be reviewed quarterly just to see where we are and if we need to make any adjustments or amendments,” he said. 

Grambling’s new City Council also approved reappointing Pamela Stringfellow as city clerk, Tommy Clark Jr. as police chief, Pamela Breedlove as city attorney and Ivan Daigs as city magistrate, allowing that quartet to maintain the positions they’ve held for years.

Bradley said he anticipated a search to be conducted for a new, full-time fire chief for Grambling.

“We’re going to do a search and we’re going to go beyond just the local area just to see what’s out there to see if we can get a new fire chief — someone interested in becoming a fire chief in a small town.”

Bradley said that a search could begin as soon as a couple of weeks from now.

“We’ve got to work up job descriptions and advertise — put it out there, and see what we get,” Bradley said. 

In other business before the meeting adjourned, Ponton announced that receptacles will be placed in City Hall and around town and asked city residents to being discarded cardboard paper towel and toilet tissue rolls as well as cardboard biodegradable egg cartons to be used to plant seedlings for a city garden she hopes will be used to help the city fight any food shortages that should occur.