Nederland Council appoints new city clerk

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, December 7, 2022

NEDERLAND — Following a short executive session where councilmembers met behind closed doors to discuss personnel, the City of Nederland was ready to appoint a new city clerk.

City Manager Chris Duque recommended the appointment of Joni K. Underwood as city clerk effective Monday, Dec. 5, 2002.

A motion was quickly made and seconded, leading to Underwood’s unanimous approval by the board

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Those in council chambers at Nederland City Hall then gave Underwood a round of applause.

“Do you want to say anything Joni?” Duque asked, before saying he was just playing.

Councilman Randy Sonnier joked with Underwood, “good luck keeping us in line.”

Following the meeting, Underwood posed for photographs with Mayor Don Albanese in front of the city’s seal.


Underwood’s appointment became necessary following the recent passing of City Clerk Gay Ferguson, who joined the City of Nederland in 2010 as City Clerk.

The 61-year-old was killed Nov. 4 as a result of injuries suffered in a head-on collision along Interstate 10 in Louisiana.

Louisiana State Police responded to a two-vehicle fatal crash on Interstate 10 near the Lacassine exit (LA Hwy 101) in Jefferson Davis Parish.

The initial investigation indicates a Ford F150 pickup, driven by 28-year-old Caleb Lee Bowers of Jennings, was traveling east on I-10.

For unknown reasons, Bowers lost control of the vehicle and traveled off the left side of the roadway, authorities said. After leaving the roadway, the F150 traveled through the median and vaulted over the cable barriers before entering the westbound lanes of travel.

At the same time, a Ford Edge SUV, driven by Ferguson, was traveling west on I-10 and was struck head-on by the F150.

Ferguson sustained fatal injuries. Her 3-year-old grandchild was in the SUV, sustained serious injuries and was taken to a Lake Charles-area hospital for treatment.

Louisiana State Police told Port Arthur Newsmedia that Bowers was issued a citation for careless operation under Louisiana Revised Statute 35:58.

The crash investigation is ongoing, according to State Police, and any decisions on other potential citations or charges are pending.