EBR Metro Council begins new year; some not convinced new year will bring change

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a new year with a new team leading city-parish government as three new members of the EBR Metro Council and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome attended their first Metro Council meeting of 2017.

The meeting was like the first day of school with everyone excited and eager to get back to work, but not everyone is sold that things will be much different in 2017.

"It was certainly my first council meeting in a long time," said Weston Broome.

"Of course it was exciting for me," Councilwoman Barbara Freiberg said. "It was a learning experience, but there were some procedural things I needed to learn."

Freiberg, one of three new faces on the 12 member team, said she is already looking forward to hitting the ground running and bringing her former school board experience to push education as a priority for the council.

"If we mesh it more carefully curriculum-wise and accountability-wise with what we're doing in the school district, I think we can make some tremendous improvements," Freiberg added.

With some big issues facing the council, such as flood recovery, community policing, and traffic, Councilwoman Chauna Banks said she is cautiously optimistic about the way forward.

"Council is kind of same old, same old. New faces, same games," Banks said.

Four of the five police reform measures she introduced last year were shot down. This year though, she is hoping the council will make the issue more of a priority. "There were some differences as it relates to racial lines and political party and that hasn't changed on the council. We are still five to seven, so we'll see," Banks added.

Weston Broome said her conversations with council members continue and she is looking forward to what this new team will accomplish in the new year.

"I believe that the Metro Council and I have the same goal and that is we want to move our city forward and we want to do what's best to serve the citizens that elected all of us," Weston Broome said.

One way the Metro Council plans to get past some past disagreements and move towards a more unified body is by attending a retreat which has been planned for sometime in February.

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