Cotton Valley goes back to work

Council meets for first time since mayor’s arrest

Tuesday night, Cotton Valley mayor Joseph Alexander presided over the first town council meeting since his arrest last week.

Louisiana State Police arrested Alexander on May 1 on charges of felony abuse of office. He allegedly had the town clerk write checks that he then used for personal gain.

Out on $1,000 bail, the mayor has no plans to resign. A crowd well beyond capacity packed into and around the municipal building as the town council meeting began.

It was the first time since the arrest that Alexander had been in the same room as Alderwoman Charlene Lewis, who has spoken against the mayor to media outlets several times in the past weeks. For example, she told the Shreveport Times he is “a paranoid idiot.”

With TV cameras rolling and dozens watching in person, the mayor and council members carried on business as usual, not referencing the controversy once throughout the meeting.

When it was time for the mayor’s report on the agenda, Alexander simply said, “All is well.”

At one point, the council approved the sale of land to a town employee until the town’s lawyer informed them it would be illegal.

“We’ll take care of it,” Alexander said. “We don’t want to break any laws.”

Multiple attendees audibly laughed after this statement, and when Alexander asked for an explanation, one woman replied.

“I just thought it was funny that you said we don’t want to break any laws.”

Later in the meeting, Alexander reminded the audience that attendees are not allowed to speak until the agenda calls for citizen input.

After the meeting, when asked about the arrest controversy and its effect on his job, Alexander’s reply was brief.

“We here to take care of people’s business,” he said. “That’s all we’re here for. Other than that, all the other drama going on will work its way out.”

In other news, the council created a town holiday in honor of Sue Sullivan, who is retiring after 45 years of service with the town’s housing authority.

The council also raised the town’s beer and wine license fee from $50 to $100, the first increase since the ‘40s.

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