Assessor M. J. “Mert” Smiley took his third consecutive oath as Ascension Parish Assessor Tuesday, January 19th, before a small gathering comprised of his deputies and local officials. The ceremony, scaled down because of COVID restrictions, was held at the Assessor’s new main office in Gonzales. The Gonzales office, located at 815 E. Worthey St., is the latest expansion under Assessor Smiley’s leadership. The Assessor’s Office has acquired two new locations to accommodate the influx of parish growth.
The ceremony began with the pledge led by Vietnam Purple Heart recipient and radio personality, Roland Doucet. Former State Representative and Deputy Director of the Port of South LA, Roy Quezaire presided, another inaugural tradition for Smiley. He and Quezaire served in the Louisiana Legislature together. Smiley’s wife Ina presented the ceremonial bible and stood with him as he took his oath. Assessor Smiley was sworn in by longtime friend and retired circuit court Judge, Marilyn Lambert, who has served as his officiant throughout his tenure as Assessor.
Assessor Smiley expressed gratitude to his staff for their service and dedication and to the citizens of Ascension parish for “entrusting him with the duties of Assessor for four more years.” The Assessor ran unopposed for this term. “Not being able to open the doors for a public celebration to show my gratitude is bittersweet,” said Smiley, adding “I have always considered serving the citizens of Ascension an honor and a privilege that I will always cherish.”