Sharonda Williams Joins Port NOLA Board of Commissioners
NEW ORLEANS — Sharonda Williams was sworn in as a member of the board of commissioners of the Port of New Orleans at the May 19 board meeting. Appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, Williams succeeds Darryl D. Berger as one of four Orleans Parish representatives on the seven-member regional board and will serve a five-year term.
“We welcome Commissioner Williams to our esteemed board and look forward to her leadership and knowledge particularly with her work in the City of New Orleans, to help us continue to drive economic prosperity for the state of Louisiana,” said Brandy D. Christian, president and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “We also want to thank Commissioner Berger for his tremendous leadership during COVID-19 and beyond. He has truly helped shape Port NOLA today and given us clear direction for the future as we continue as a competitive Gulf gateway.”
Port commissioners also serve as commissioners of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad board. NOPB, a class III switching railroad, is an independent political subdivision of the state of Louisiana with the primary mission of serving the Port of New Orleans and local industries.
“I am looking forward to joining the board of commissioners and using my understanding of the law and affinity for community outreach to benefit the organization,” said Williams. “This organization is building toward a common goal to provide economic growth for our community and our state, and I hope to use my advocacy to ensure a strong future of the maritime industry.”
Williams currently serves as general counsel and director of government affairs for Loyola University. Prior to that, she was special counsel at Fishman Haygood in New Orleans. Williams also served as city attorney for the City of New Orleans from May 2013 to November 2015. In that role, she was the lead attorney handling the most comprehensive police consent decree in the history of the United States as well as the consent decree aimed at reforming the Orleans Parish Jail. These endeavors required constant work with the United States Department of Justice.
Williams also served as the lead attorney representing the city in settling a more than 30-year dispute relating to back pay and pension issues for the New Orleans Firefighters. She had served as chief deputy city attorney from October 2011 until May 2013.
Prior to joining the City of New Orleans, Williams was a partner in the general litigation section at Sher Garner, where she handled cases ranging from construction disputes, medical malpractice, insurance coverage disputes, entertainment law contract negotiations, intellectual property licensing issues, and bankruptcy adversary proceedings. She has served as the chair of the board of commissioners of the Regional Transit Authority as well as being involved in numerous other professional and civic organizations.
The Port of New Orleans Board consists of seven commissioners. They are unsalaried and serve five-year staggered terms. The governor of Louisiana appoints members from a list of three nominations submitted by local civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The board reflects the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction, with four members from Orleans Parish, two from Jefferson Parish and one from St. Bernard Parish. Commissioner William H. Langenstein III, Commissioner Walter J. Leger Jr., Commissioner James J. Carter Jr., and Williams represent Orleans Parish; Vice-Chairman Jack C. Jensen Jr. and Secretary-Treasurer Joseph F. Toomy represent Jefferson Parish; and Chairman Charles H. Ponstein represents St. Bernard Parish.