District 3 Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow attended the Mid-Winter Conference in Baton Rouge Feb. 19-20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. Over 500 municipal leaders attended. Rayville Mayor and LMA president, Harry Lewis, gave the welcome. The first speaker was Leslie Durham, assistant to the Governor and the Governor’s designee to the Delta Regional Authority. The topic was “Managing Aging Water Infrastructure.” The second speaker was Dr. Shawn Wilson, secretary of La. DOTD. He said the biggest challenges facing local government leaders are aging roadways and infrastructure. The third speaker was Dr. Carrie Castille who spoke on broadband opportunities.
Castille is the state director of USDA. The evening speaker was La. Main Street Program Director Ray Scriber, MA, MBA, from the office of Cultural Development. The final speaker Feb. 19 was Traci Watts, director of LCDBG/LGAP/CWEF programs, office of Community Development. The topic of the final session was “Show Me the (Grant) Monday” by Tracy Watts, director of LCDBG programs.
On Feb. 20, the welcome was given by Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome. The first session was on “Avoiding Fiscal Administration” by Michael G. Battle, advisory service manager for the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The session was an overview of what fiscal administration is; the processes and participants involved; examples of practices that have resulted in fiscal administration; and tips on how to avoid fiscal administration. The luncheon speaker was U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. He addressed the audience on issues for persons with drug problems. The afternoon session featured Jerry Grillot, chief of staff for the La. Senate. He spoke on the Lawranson Act.
This session focused on ways to provide knowledge and understanding of the Lawrason Act and an overview of recent development including attorney general opinions and case law. Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed the audience on issues facing the State. Some of his main concerns are health care, education, jobs, opioid epidemic, the budget and raises for teachers. The final workshop was on the Code of Governmental Ethics by Brett Robinson from the Ethics Commission. That ethics training met the requirement for elected officials. “Overall, this conference did benefit all municipal officials,” Morrow said.