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Leesville Council signs off on Shapkoff, Dowden appointments

BY ELONA WESTON
LEESVILLE -- Tony Shapkoff was appointed Wednesday to fill the vacant District 4 Leesville City Council seat until an election is held and the seat is ultimately determined.

According to Leesville Mayor Rick Allen, that election will be Nov. 4. He said qualifying will be Aug. 20-22. Qualifying/election information can be found HERE.

Also on Wednesday, the panel approved the appointment of Chuck Dowden as city attorney/city prosecutor.

Allen said he felt both appointments would be assets to the city.

"I think that, as you heard, the council voted 100 percent on both appointments. I think that speaks volumes for the two men who were appointed to each position. The whole council feels comfortable with it. I'm comfortable with it," Allen said.

On Shapkoff, Allen said he thinks the city will benefit from his experience operating a business. Shapkoff owns Shapkoff Moving Services in Leesville.

"Mr. Shapkoff, for instance, is a business owner here in Leesville and has around 70 employees himself, so he knows how to run business and he knows how to get business. I think he'll be a great help to us," Allen said.

Dowden, Allen said, previously served as city prosecutor.

"He knows the ropes already," Allen said. "He'll get right to work and he has a lot of work to do."

Shapkoff said it's an honor to be able to step up and fill the seat held for years by Mike Elliott, who passed away recently. Elliott served as councilman under Shapkoff's father, Jim Shapkoff, a longtime Leesville mayor.

"Mike and my family have been close friends ever since Mike got here and I look forward to serving the constituents of District 4 and I hope to do as good of a job as Mike did while he was in office," Shapkoff said.

Shapkoff said he intends to run for the seat in November. He said the district's needs center on infrastructure, streets and water.

"I don't want to just take it for the interim. In order for me to do the right job, I would need to be here four years, perhaps longer, we'll just see what happens," he said.

The votes on the appointments were unanimous.

Regarding Dowden's appointment, an amendment was proposed by councilman Danny Dowd -- and agreed upon by the council -- that asks outgoing city attorney/city prosecutor Jack Simms to turn over any and all files pertaining to city litigation.

Tune in on Thursday for more from Wednesday's meeting.

The council's next regularly scheduled meeting is at 3 p.m. Monday.
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