Not many people are talking about it right now, but the next chair of the Shreveport City Council is beginning to become an issue. John Settle tells us who is in the running and what it means for Shreveport.


Presently, this question is a back-burner issue.

But come December, it will undoubtedly be a front-burner matter if not sooner.

Jerry Bowman JR is the current chair. He also served as the 2018 chair.

And he could be re-elected as chair.

John Nickelson is the vice chair. He could be re-elected to that position.

Council rules allow any of the 7 members to be elected as chair and vice chair.

There is no requirement of past service or any seniority preferences for either of these positions.

In the past, it was the general practice of the council to move the vice chair up to the position of chair. And in the process of rotating the seat between white and black council members.

Oliver Jenkins was the 2018 vice chair. He termed out of the council in Dec.

This year’s council has deviated from many of the past practices of prior councils.

It will not be a surprise to many if someone other than Nickelson is elected chair.

Nickelson has often voted in the minority with the other 2 new council members–Levette Fuller and Grayson Boucher. He has frequently challenged the authority of the office of the mayor. He also voted along with the other 2 newbies against placing the bond propositions on the Nov. ballot.

The council chair makes the critical committee assignments, and names the chair of each.

He is also the mayor pro tem if the mayor is out of state. The position has additional prestige–and many essential responsibilities.

The mayor does not, of course, have a vote on the council chair or vice chair. But no doubt he does have some influence with several council members–especially after the split on the bond propositions.

If all three of the bond propositions pass, then those that voted for it may not want to reward Nickelson by voting him as chair. And the same is true is any of the 3 propositions fail.

Similarly, Nickelson may be put in many awkward situations as chair depending on the bond vote. He along with his cronies Boucher and Fuller have enjoyed making many bold statements while at the horseshoe and to the media that often have not been supported by the facts.

This practice is not well suited to being the council chair–and in effect, the spokesperson for this 7-person elected body. How the internal politics of the council play out will be interesting to follow–at least what is publicly disclosed.