Democrat Tarvald Smith wins Baton Rouge City Court judge seat _lowres

Tarvald Smith

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board has called a March 5 special election to replace Tarvald Smith, who was elected Oct. 24 to Baton Rouge City Court and whose resignation from the board took effect Monday.

The board also declared a vacancy in District 4, which opens the door for qualified residents of the district to submit their names for the temporary appointment to the post.

The board voted unanimously Monday to call the special election and to declare the vacancy. Board member Kenyetta Nelson-Smith was absent.

Monday’s special meeting, which lasted just 15 minutes, was called in order to meet a Wednesday deadline with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office to get items on the March 5 ballot. Failing to act before Wednesday would have meant that whoever is appointed to temporarily fill Smith’s seat would serve for nearly a year before voters could decide for themselves.

The board plans to appoint someone to serve temporarily as the District 4 representative when it meets Nov. 19. Smith, who served on the board for 11 years, said he is not planning to endorse anybody to replace him but would love to meet with anyone interested in the position.

Smith was elected to City Court with 52 percent of the vote in a four-person race in the primary. He plans to officially join the City Court bench on Nov. 16.

Those interested in being appointed to the District 4 seat have until noon Nov. 18 to apply. They will need to submit to School Board President David Tatman a letter of intent, along with a résumé or a short biographical sketch, and a certificate of residency/qualifications supplied by the parish registrar of voters.

District 4, which covers the eastern portion of north Baton Rouge, is bounded on the south by Florida Boulevard and on the north by Greenwell Street, Joor Road and the Comite River. Lobdell Avenue and Elm Drive form much of its western edge while Flannery Road bounds it on the east.