By T. Scott Boatright
GRAMBLING – The city of Grambling has a new official attorney after Judge Bruce Hampton swore Shreveport lawyer Ronald F. Lattier into office during Monday night’s rescheduled City Council meeting.
That meeting was originally set for Thursday but was postponed until Monday because of the line of severe thunderstorms that rolled across north Louisiana late Thursday, prompting multiple weather warnings.
Lattier replaces Pamela Breedlove who had served as Grambling City Attorney since 2009 under former Mayor Edward Jones.
During last month’s initial meeting under new Mayor Alvin Bradley and Grambling’s City Council that featured four new members, there was apparent friction as Breedlove faced questions concerning business in Grambling’s Economic Development District.
Bradley said that after that meeting he had decided to go another direction with the city attorney position, but apparently Breedlove felt the same, turning in her letter of resignation the next time the two met.
After voting unanimously to accept Breedlove’s resignation, Grambling’s City Council unanimously approved a motion to name Lattier, former attorney for the city of Shreveport, as her replacement.
“Mr. Lattier comes with high marks and checked off all the boxes as it relates to being city attorney and knowing governmental legal matters,” Bradley said. “He graduated top of his class from Southern (University) Law School – we’re not going to hold that against him – and holds a Bachelor of Arts (degree) from Northeast Louisiana University, now ULM, and was an honor grad from Woodlawn High School in Shreveport.
“He also has his own law office in Shreveport and comes highly recommended.”
After Grambling’s City Council voted unanimously to accept the recommendation for Lattier to take over as city attorney, Hampton stepped forward to swear him into office.
“I will not let you down – give me a little time and we’ll work all of this out,” Lattier told the Council. “As I told you before, I do things by the book … and I look forward to a long lasting and fruitful relationship with the city of Grambling.”
In other business, Grambling’s City Council approved the hire dates of firefighters Remmington Webb, dating back to Oct. 4, 2020, and Hahsan Jackson dating back to Aug. 15, 2022.
“This next item under old business is really, really old business,” Bradley said as he began explaining the situation. “These hires were made before we took office. Why these young men are on the agenda tonight is that we are going to try and right a wrong. They should have been voted on and added to the minutes by (the previous) Council. The only way they can receive supplemental pay, which comes strictly from the state and is not an added expense for our current budget, is to have that documented.
“I could have kicked the can down the road, but that’s not right. These young men have been working; however, the knowledge of them working was not recorded in any of the (previous) Council meetings. That’s why I brought it forward tonight.”
Grambling’s Council also approved to add on to the agenda and then OKed the hires of Reginald Knighten as a probational entry level full-time firefighter for the Grambling Fire Department as well as naming Jaylen Houston as a part-time firefighter as well as approving the hire of Mark Tennent as a certified Grambling City Police Officer.
During Monday’s meeting the City Council also authorized Bradley to sign a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the state of Louisiana for the Water Sector Program Award and to sign a change order and certificate of completion for the Community Center Expansion Project.
Bradley said that during an inspection the new expansion work did not include proper fire doors as required and that those doors have been replaced with up-to-standards fire doors.
The meeting ended with a surprise announcement as Councilwoman Delores Smith, owner of The Collegiate Shoppe on Main Street in Grambling, will begin holding a closing sale beginning on March 16.
That apparel store, which was founded by Smith’s father Calvin Wilkerson in 1956,was once the largest Black-owned clothing store in the South and in 1976 achieved top ratings from Dun and Bradstreet, a corporation based in Jacksonville, Florida, that provides commercial data, analytics, and insights for businesses.