Mayor, Kates dispute over lights

Published 5:24 am Friday, June 9, 2017

Bogalusa mayor Wendy Perrette and city council member Gloria Kates offered conflicting stories Tuesday on how un-satisfactory lights were recently installed at the Mike Harrington Park, formerly known as Davis Park.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Bogalusa City Council, Perrette read from prepared remarks, as she said Kates had erroneously approved a work order for Entergy to install LED lighting at the park.

“Do you think I can, or the city can, chase after seven men and women on the council signing contracts for the city?” Perrette said. “Your intent may be good, but you know better and you knew better that you cannot sign off nor represent the city on a new contract at any time as a council person.”

Perrette said that the lights that were installed at the baseball park did not emit enough light to safely play baseball. She said that there are 30-50 foot-candles required to play ball, and the installed lights only measured 1.7 foot-candles. She noted that if anyone got hurt playing ball under those lights, the city would not be insured.

“You are one-seventh of a vote,” Perrette said, directly addressing Kates. “You are there to make laws and approve the budget. What you did is unethical and way out of line. You cannot sign a contract and act as a representative of the city.”

However, during her scheduled comments in Tuesday’s meeting, Kates made the unusual move of moving to the public podium so that she could face the council and Perrette while making her remarks. Kates disputed Perrette’s account of the issue.

“I just want to address the tactics that you guys just witnessed of me,” she said. “I pray for our entire administration; I pray for you mayor, as well. But it is ludicrous how someone can come forth with just straight-out fabrication.”

Kates said that she had been communicating with an Entergy representative in April, and asked that representative for an estimate on what it would cost to install lighting at the Harrington Park. Kates said the estimate was $72.50 per month, and she then emailed that estimate to a city employee for review and possible approval on April 12.

“It was a sample, and it was an estimate of the lights,” Kates said. “This is not a work order for approval. This is the estimate that was forwarded to Mr. (parks and recreation director Landon) Tims for approval.

“Now where this farce comes where I signed a work order — I would like for it to be produced.”

Kates said that a Bogalusa Police Department officer visited her house to deliver a letter, in which Perrette asked for a “mandatory meeting” on May 26 to meet with Kates about an “unauthorized work order.” Kates then responded by saying she would only talk with the mayor about the issue in an open and public meeting.

Toward the end of her remarks, Kates again insisted that she never signed a work order nor any other document approving any work to be done.

“To make a long story short, (the Entergy representative) received authorization for those lights from our parks director,” Kates said. “I am not a council person that can authorize a work order for Entergy … and from what I understand … (the representative) attempted to explain this to the powers-that-be, but it was not listened to.

“Per Richard Nixon, I am not a crook. At all. I am a God-fearing woman. And as the Word says, ‘God hates a liar.’”