Combative debate between Adrian Perkins and John Nickelson spiced up passage of the District C Councilmlan's ordinance to reign in the mayor's moves on switching the city's massive insurance plans.
Nickelson's ordinance requires council approval of insurance buys the mayor wants for the city. Previously, mayors could do this unilaterally.
This follows a KTBS 3 Investigates report. We showed that Perkins moved some major lines of insurance away from two longtime business partners of the city to a broker in Dallas named Roddrelle Sykes.
Sykes donated $250 to Perkins' 2018 campaign. And as Nickelson noted at the meeting, Sykes has other ties to Perkins.
"I have very serious concerns about the fact that hundreds of thousands in commissions were moved to the first cousin of the individual (Joshua Williams) who ran the mayor's campaign," Nickelson told the council.
Perkins responded moments later, telling Nickelson, "The relationship that you bring up has nothing to do with his ability to do the job, just like I wouldn't bring up that I've heard that you have a personal relationship with Mr. Eppers."
That was a reference to Robert Eppers of Risk Services, one of the local agents that lost business.
Democrats Willie Bradford and Levette Fuller joined Nickelson and the other two Republicans to pass the ordinance 5 to 2.
Fuller said council approval of insurance buys would help Perkins achieve his stated goals of fairness, competition and minority participation, as well as add transparency.
Perkins also claims his insurance choices are already saving Shreveport taxpayers money. However, the council's Audit & Finance Committee's probe found no cost savings in the extra workers compensation policy that Risk Services managed for 30 years.