Bossier’s top administrative official, Lynn Austin, Thursday turned in his letter of resignation, effective Nov. 30, to Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker. Austin has served as the city’s chief administrative officer since Walker was elected for his first term in April 2005.
Although Austin declined to comment on his intentions, speculation is that he resigned in order to run for the office of Bossier City Marshal in April 2011. The election was set by the Bossier City Council to fill the unexpired term of the late Johnny Wyatt, who died of injuries sustained in a one-car accident on October 8. At the time of his death, Wyatt was two-and-a-half years into his fourth six-year term. Qualifying for the April election is in February 9-11, 2011.
Austin, who spent his entire career in law enforcement, served as Bossier City Police Chief from 1988 until his retirement in 1992, coming out of retirement to become Bossier Parish School Board’s first director of security under then Superintendent of Schools Jane Smith. In February and March, Austin served as interim Bossier City chief of police, filling the gap between the retirement of former Police Chief Mike Halphen and the appointment of current Bossier Police Chief Shane McWilliams.
It was never a secret that Austin was interested in the City Marshal position, but he was a close friend, as well as colleague, with Wyatt. He said he would never run for the office unless Wyatt stepped down or retired. “I know what he wanted,” Austin said, “and that was to finish what he started.” Wyatt’s dream was to have a board certified forensic laboratory for the Northwest Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Austin said.
Other names mentioned in relation to the open office include former Bossier Deputy Marshal Carl Richard, who later worked as a Deputy Marshal in Shreveport, and Bossier Chief Deputy Marshal Rick Ware, who is currently serving as Marshal until the slot is filled. Ware, however, is ineligible to run, as he lives in Shreveport.