Veteran councilman says goodbye after 12 years as elected leader

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

NEDERLAND — After more than a decade of service as an elected leader, Talmadge Austin asked if he could address his fellow councilmembers and the city for the last time.

“Mayor and council, I greatly appreciate all of this right here,” he said. “I have been on the old council and worked with the new council. It’s been an educational process for me. I was never into city politics or any kind of politics for that matter (before serving). I feel like myself and this whole council, present and past, have worked for the citizens and this city. We’ve given our very best to do the very best for them.”

The Ward 1 Nederland city councilman’s last day in office was Monday, when he stepped down following a decision not to seek re-election earlier this month.

Former Nederland Ward 1 Councilman Talmadge Austin, left, says goodbye to the board while Councilwoman Sylvia Root, City Attorney Jesse Branick and City Manager Chris Duque look on. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

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The new Ward 1 councilman is Bret Duplant, who accepted the Oath of Office via video presentation Monday, because he could not attend the meeting in person.

In his final remarks in office, Austin expressed some displeasure, saying he was disappointed his last council meeting included a board decision that disappointed local homeowners who were seeking assistance with pipe maintenance under their home.

The council determined the pipes were not city property, which caused frustration for the homeowners.

Austin noted not all decisions made by the council can please everyone.

“I hate that it ended on the way it is ending today,” he said. “I still think we have all done the best that we can do for the City of Nederland. I appreciate everybody. Thank you all. Everybody had a part in me being here for 12 years.”

During the meeting, Ward 3 Councilman Randy Sonnier was sworn-in following his re-election victory, where he ran unopposed.

Sonnier’s fellow councilmembers also named him mayor pro tem during this week’s meeting.