The Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted unanimously on Monday to appoint former state Rep. Kay Kellogg Katz to serve as an interim police juror representing District F until the office is filled through an election later this year.
A vacancy for the Police Jury’s District F office was created when former interim police juror Anna Reed revealed on social media that she did not live within District F. Reed resigned from office last month after police jurors questioned her truthfulness about her residency.
Reed was appointed as an interim police juror earlier this year after then-Police Juror Pat Moore was elected to the state House of Representatives in a special-called election. Parish officials say they did not know Reed was not a resident in the district before appointing her. The parish also did not check her residency prior to her appointment.
Assistant District Attorney Jay Mitchel, who serves as the Police Jury’s legal counsel, confirmed Katz’s residency in District F was checked prior to her appointment. District F contains some of Monroe and most of southeastern Ouachita Parish.
Katz, of Monroe, is known as the face of the Ouachita Parish Women’s Republican Club. Besides previously serving in the state House of Representatives, Katz also served on the Louisiana Tax Commission and the Monroe City Council.
“It will be an honor to serve the people of Ouachita Parish,” Katz said. “And I look forward to this brief sojourn.”
When Reed was appointed an interim police juror, Police Jury President Shane Smiley said he and other police jurors chose Reed because she had committed not to run for election this October. The Police Jury did not want to give an unfair advantage to someone by appointing them and allowing them to run as an incumbent in an election, he explained. Shortly after her appointment, Reed began to crawfish on her pledge not to become a candidate, claiming she had no plans to do so at that time. She filed paperwork this week to become a candidate to represent District D on the Police Jury.
Police Juror Walt Caldwell offered the motion to appoint Katz as an interim police juror. Prior to offering the motion, Caldwell asked her, “Ms. Katz, do you have any intention of running for this office?”
“I do not,” Katz said.
After the meeting, Smiley told The Ouachita Citizen that very few people approached the Police Jury with an interest in serving as an interim member of the Police Jury.
“Police jurors felt that she had the experience,” Smiley said.
“Ms. Katz was one of the first people to express interest, and she is not going to be running this fall.”
On another front, the Police Jury heard a plea from George Johnson, of Calhoun, that the parish use the old LSU AgCenter property on Hwy 80 for a public park with walking and bike trails, a farmers market as well as for swimming and fishing. Johnson also asked that an ambulance substation and a Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office substation be placed on the property, too.
“I don’t think the people of Calhoun knew things were moving so fast to dispose of this property,” Johnson said.
Johnson claimed the people living in Calhoun had a right to know what would happen with the property.
The meeting Monday marked the second time Johnson has publicly asked police jurors to consider his plan.
Johnson offered a similar plea during a town hall meeting in Calhoun in June. At that time, Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit said the Police Jury was determined to find a major employer to occupy the old AgCenter property, because the parish economy needed jobs.
On Monday, neither Clampit nor any other police juror offered a response to Johnson’s request.
Meanwhile, the Police Jury recognized several parish employees for their years of service. The employees recognized included Richard Fredericks with Green Oaks Juvenile Detention Center (30 years), Jeff Frost with the parish public works department (30 years), as well as several employees of the Ouachita Parish Fire Department: Mark Thomas (20 years), Cassius Hayes (30 years), and Curt Meachum (30 years).
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank those employees for their years of service to the parish,” said Police Jury President Shane Smiley.