Divided JP Council can't reach decision on interim member

District seat remains empty in JP as council argues over parish's direction

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish Council members can't agree on who should complete the term of Ben Zahn, who recently became Kenner's mayor.

On Wednesday, the council took votes on the three candidates vying to be the interim District 4 councilman, but none got the votes needed.

Zahn was sworn in as Kenner's mayor on Jan. 12, but it could be Gov. John Bel Edwards who decides who replaces him on the council.

"I'm very disappointed in the vote," said Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken. "We are leaders. We are elected to listen to our constituents and take a leadership role in making decisions."

"If I am contacted by someone indicating that there is a material change in their position, then we will call for a special meeting," said Council Chairman Chris Roberts.

Zahn held a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"I do not want or ever need Chris Roberts to speak for me," Zahn said. "He lacks integrity, honesty and I will leave it at that. For the record, I did encourage every candidate who put his name in for consideration and others to serve as a District 4 interim councilmember to apply for that position. It is the democratic process and way."

Zahn is backing candidate Larry Katz. If the council chooses to call a special meeting next week, it would have to be held by Feb. 10 because their deadline of Feb. 12 is a Sunday.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.