By Paige Nash
Mayor of Sibley Jimmy Williams recently received the President’s Award, the highest award given by the Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) at their 85th Annual Convention. The LMA is an organization that represents 303 municipalities and 2 parishes within the state. More than 1,100 elected officials, municipal employees and special guests gathered at the Cajundome in Lafayette for this convention.
They offered entertainment, workshops and an opportunity to network and exchange ideas with fellow municipal leaders. It also gave the LMA a chance to honor and recognize deserving public servants.
Current LMA President Michael Chauffe felt that Mayor Williams was beyond deserving of this award for his long-time service in municipal government and his contributions to the LMA over the years.
“I considered Mayor Williams’ many qualities that made him eligible to receive this award. I considered his patience, calmness, and ability to deal with tough situations whether it to be political, racial or anything else that came his way,” said Chauffe.
Mayor Williams served as an alderman before being elected as the Mayor of Sibley, a position he has held since 2009. He was elected to serve as President of LMA in 2019 and is now a current member of the LMA Executive Board.
The last few years have been full of ups and downs for Mayor Williams. Right around the time he was elected to serve as President of LMA he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Cancer and a few months into his term having to navigate treatments and responsibilities amid a global pandemic.
“After all he went through with his health and guiding us through a pandemic he deserved to be recognized. Presidents usually only serve for one year, but with Covid he served as our President for two years and he did an excellent job as tough as it was with all the restrictions,” said Chauffer.
Despite the difficulties, Williams experienced many special moments, too. These included the proclamation of “Municipal Day” at the Capitol, he had the honor of laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery and the 50th reunion of the 1972 Minden High School State Champion baseball team.
Receiving the President’s Award was the icing on the cake for Mayor Williams and through tons of hard work by the association they managed to keep it a secret up until the big announcement at the annual convention.
“This is the highest award that the LMA gives out,” said Williams. “The LMA had told me who was receiving the awards and I knew that my name was not one of those. The list I saw of the recipients were very deserving. So, when the President started reading a bio, I said ‘wait a minute, that sounds like me.’ President Michael Chauffe gave me this award. We have become close over the years and it meant something really special coming from him.”
Chauffe said it was exceedingly difficult to keep it a secret from Williams, who is so involved in many aspects of the association and the convention. The trophies that are distributed to the recipients are supplied by Minden Athletic every year. Williams has worked at Minden Athletic for 49 years and serves as a manager of this family-owned business that his late brother, Butch Williams, and wife Ki opened in 1973.
“I managed to get his award built at a different place. It was funny because we usually get them from him at Minden Athletic, but we were able to get the exact template and have it made somewhere else. When they brought out the box of awards, I plucked his out while he wasn’t looking,” said Chauffer.
Mayor Williams will continue to serve in his third term as Mayor of Sibley and be a contributing member of the LMA. He looks forward to continuing carrying out their mission, finding new and innovative ways to advocate, educate and empower local governments to serve the citizens of Louisiana.
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