D’ville to decide mayor, council

Allison B. Hudson

DONALDSONVILLE - Election for the city’s mayor will be held during the statewide primary elections Oct. 4, along with three seats on the city council and two proposed changes to the city’s home rule charter.

The two candidates running against incumbent Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. are Michael McKinney Sr. and Eric “Twin” Robinson. Each said that while they have no experience in elected office, they feel their respective supervisory experiences in the private sector make them qualified to lead the city government.

Both McKinney and Robinson said they have ambitious plans to better the city as a whole.

McKinney, who lost his first bid for the mayor’s seat in 2004’s primary, said the city administration needs to do more to attract new businesses to the area. He added that the city should work harder to secure state money to improve the city’s infrastructure.

“I see a great need for action in the city,” McKinney said. “We are faced with a crisis.”

McKinney added that the city currently fails to provide adequate services to its citizens, specifically in the area of recreation and for seniors. He said doing so would also help lower the city’s crime rate.

Better housing options and improvement of the city’s fire insurance ratings needs more attention as well, said McKinney.

Robinson also said that the city could go further to address affordable housing problems.

If elected, Robinson said, he would work to produce an emergency fund and stockpile critical resources to help those in need. He said he also wants to see more “adequate activities” for teenagers and young adults, and more involvement in the school system through after-school programs.

Robinson added that he felt the city’s image needs polishing by the next mayor, and he is ready to do so.

“I will change the image of Donaldsonville by creating a strong and effective strategic plan that will move the city in an upward direction,” he said.

Sullivan responded to his challengers’ plans by saying that they are very good ideas but somewhat impractical, given the city’s financial situation.

“The city is moving forward and in the right direction,” Sullivan said. “Increasing of our tax base is first.”

Sullivan said he feels the city needs someone with experience at the helm.

“I’ve shown leadership ability in spite of negative feedback from Hurricane Gustav,” said Sullivan, who served on the city council before becoming mayor.

Plans for a multipurpose community center, which can also serve as an emergency shelter, have already crossed Sullivan’s mind, he said.

The city’s roads are also on Sullivan’s list to repair. The city repaved eight roads last year at a cost of around $1 million.

All three candidates in the race are registered Democrats.

Along with the mayor’s election, three incumbent members of the Donaldsonville City Council face challengers for their seats.

In District 1, incumbent Anthony “Tony” Huey faces a challenge from Lauthaught Delaney, Sr.

District 3’s race will see incumbent Reginald Francis Sr. challenged by Clarence Henry Jr. and Dianne Singleton.

Incumbent District 4 Councilman Charles R. Brown Sr. is pitted against challenger Miquel J. Miles, Sr.

All candidates seeking council seats are registered Democrats.

District 2 Councilman Raymond Aucoin and District 5 Councilman Emile J. Spano, both registered Democrats, qualified without opposition and automatically won reelection to their respective seats.

Voters will also decide on two changes to the city's home rule charter during the election.

The first proposal would amend Article IV, Section 4-08 of the charter by deleting nine paragraphs to eliminate requiring city employees to go through the civil service system. Exceptions to the change include fire department employees.

The second change would amend Article V, Section 5-04 of the charter to reflect state statutes and current accounting practices that were set by a resolution of the council earlier this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Editor Aaron E. Looney contributed to this report