Assessor Smiley takes third oath as assessor

Staff Report
Assessor M.J. "Mert" Smiley takes the oath of office with Judge Marilyn Lambert as Smiley's wife, Ina Smiley, looks on.

Assessor M. J. “Mert” Smiley took his third consecutive oath as Ascension Parish Assessor on Jan. 19 in front of 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 of Allegiance led by Vietnam Purple Heart recipient and radio personality Roland Doucet. Former State Rep. and Deputy Director of the Port of South Louisiana Roy Quezaire presided, another inaugural tradition for Smiley.

Smiley’s wife, Ina, presented the ceremonial Bible and stood with him as he took his oath. 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.

Smiley thanked 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,” Smiley said, adding “I have always considered serving the citizens of Ascension an honor and a privilege that I will always cherish.”