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St. George's interim mayor working for free for now; doesn't regret years-long effort

3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago Tuesday, May 28 2024 May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024 5:25 PM May 28, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Mia Monet

BATON ROUGE — The interim mayor of the new city of St. George said Tuesday he's not sure how long he'll serve in the role. 

Gov. Jeff Landry appointed Dustin Yates as temporary mayor this month, tapping him to serve until the state's newest city can hold elections. When Central went through this nearly 20 years ago, interim mayor Shelton "Mac" Watts served for nearly a year as interim before being elected to the job April 1, 2006.

"We've asked how long this transition is going to be and I really can't tell you, cause I really don't know," Yates told members of the Chamber of Commerce for East Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

"It could be 12 months, 18 months, 2 years. There's a lot of moving pieces and parts to unwind ... so I really couldn't answer how long that will take," he said.

Yates said he and the designated police chief, current East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Maj. Todd Morris, are not being paid for the interim work. Pay will be determined by the council, which was just appointed last week.

The state Supreme Court last month approved St. George's incorporation after a nearly five-year court battle, though St. George's opponents have asked justices to reconsider.

After a petition process, voters in the southeastern, unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge Parish voted in October 2019 to create the new city, by a 54-46 margin. 

"I'll tell you this though ... through the good times and the bad times and the heartache, the blood, the sweat and tears, the weekends spent out on corners collecting signatures, the abuse we received,  sometimes borderline harassment to be honest, it's been all worth it," Yates said. "It's been all worth it."

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