Governor appoints St. George’s first mayor, police chief

    Gov. Jeff Landry today announced the appointment of Dustin Yates as St. George’s first mayor and Todd Morris as the city’s first police chief.

    Yates, 44, the Chief Administrative Officer of the St. George Fire Department, has served in various roles at the Department for 19 years. He has been involved with St. George since the original petition in 2013.

    “I am extremely humbled to be appointed by Governor Landry to lead this newly created city as the interim Mayor,” Yates wrote in a statement. “Our goal will be to ensure a timely transition that will set up the City of St. George for long-term success.”

    Morris has 34 years of law enforcement experience, 26 of which he spent with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. He is the chief of crimes against persons and special operations for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. He also served eight years as an investigator with the Louisiana Department of Justice and two years as an EBRSO reserve deputy.

    “I am committed to working collaboratively with our residents, business owners, Sheriff Gautreaux and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and the community leaders to ensure St. George is a safe, welcoming, and thriving city for all,” Morris says.

    The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in April to allow the incorporation of St. George, which would be the state’s fifth-largest city.

    Efforts to incorporate St. George were born following two failed attempts by the community to form its own breakaway school district in southeast East Baton Rouge Parish. In 2015, efforts to incorporate fell short after organizers failed to collect the required number of signatures—just 71 signatures shy. 

    St. George leaders launched their second petition attempt in 2018, which was successful. In 2019, 54% of voters approved the incorporation.

    Landry is also expected to appoint a five-person council for the city. The first election will be when the mayor and council set it. The earliest it could be would be Nov. 5, the upcoming primary.