SPAR official ousted in Police Jury vote

Published 7:13 am Friday, August 5, 2022

Six structures were slated for demolition and Calcasieu Parish Police Jury members adopted a resolution at their Thursday meeting, by an 8-6 vote, to remove a Sulphur Parks and Recreation (SPAR) Board of Commissioners member.

SPAR Commissioner Mitch Bowers urged jury members to vote against the resolution that would remove him.

“I was appointed to the board eight years ago,” Bowers said. “Through that eight-year term, I have been voted by my peers three times in that eight years to be president. When I came to the board, there were four other members on the board that all had 20-plus years of experience.”

Bowers said he remembers how invaluable he considered the experience of other board members when he was still “green,” and claimed that experienced board members have been removed one by one by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.

“It seems to be a precedent here lately,” he said. “Please set politics aside and the line that has been drawn in the sand and do what’s right for Suphur Parks and Recreation. Do what’s right for the new director and do what’s right for the kids. And, if you don’t believe that’s me, that’s fine. I will humbly accept that.”

Joy Abshire was a 23-year SPAR board member.

She spoke on Bowers’ behalf. She said stability on the board is needed, especially now and Bowers provides that. And, the board especially needs independent leaders.

“With all due respect, they do not need Police Jury men trying to promote their own agenda,” she said.

Joe Andrepont, District 13, spoke on Bowers’ behalf.

“I don’t think a lot of people know this about this board, but you don’t get paid to serve on it,” Andrepont said. They do it. They’re volunteers.”

Andrepont said it takes courage to show up for three meetings and hear your name debated back and forth, get voted in and now be removed.

District 15 Police Juror Tony Tramonte kept his remarks brief.

“I’m not going to deny anything that’s been said. I think Mitch is a great guy and that he’s done a great job and would continue to do a great job. After redistricting, Mr. Bowers no longer lives in District 15,” Tramonte said.

The resolution was adopted to remove Bowers and appoint Len Lemelle, as the Board of Commissioners of Community Center and Playground District No. Two of Ward Four (SPAR). Voting for Bowers’s removal were Brian Abshire, Judd Bares, Anthony Bartie, Guy Brame, Randy Burleigh, Chris Landy, Eddie Lewis and Tony Tramonte. Voting against Bowers’ removal was Joe Andrepont, Tony Guillory, Ron Hayess, Roger Marcantel, Ashton Richard and Mike Smith.

No objections were made to the following board/district appointments: Michael Authement, Community Center and Playground District No. Seven of Ward Two; Jeffrey W. Coates, Industrial Development Board of Calcasieu Parish; Richard Boenig, Waterworks District No. Nine of Ward Four; Charles “Buckie” LeBoeuf, Ward Four Fire Protection District No. Four.

Properties set for demolition by the parish are 2288 South Perkins Ferry Road, Moss Bluff; 4705 Goos Ferry Rd, Northeast Lake Charles; 6048 Bennie Lane, South Lake Charles; 701 Sundale Drive, South Lake Charles; 598 Friesen Road, South Lake Charles; 9339 Nash Lane, South Lake Charles; and 214 Noma Lane, Westlake.

Four municipalities and two districts were presented with funds from the 2022 Road and Drainage Trust Fund Program: Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. One, West Calcasieu, $500,000, Buxton Creek Paved Later Improvements; Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. Two (East Calcasieu), $500,000, Fifth Avenue and Broad Street Lateral Channel Reconstruction; Town of Iowa, $109,200, David/Lightner Watershed Drainage Improvements; City of DeQuincy, $218,400, Hayes St. Drainage Improvements; City of Sulphur, $170,800, 2022 Street Rehabilitation Program (Ashley, Brandi and Tillman Streets); City of Westlake; $114,800, Lateral W-35/Garfield Street Drainage Improvements.