The term is for one year. He succeeds Charles Broussard, who served in the position for 18 months. Broussard will remain on the board.
Merchant currently serves as the director of the Town of Vinton Civil Defense Office and the Chief of the Vinton Fire Department.
A graduate of Vinton High School in 1965, he attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles. After owning and operating Vinton Electric Service until 1981, he was employed as an electrician by PPG Industries in Sulphur, La., and retired from the company in 2009 as emergency response supervisor.
He has been a member of the Vinton Fire Department since 1967 and has served as its chief since 1990. He also is a member of the Calcasieu Parish LEPC and has served as a member of the Calcasieu 911 program for 20 years. He has been a certified EMT for 34 years, and was the director of the Vinton Ambulance Service for 11 years. Merchant also has served two terms as a city alderman from 1973-1981.
Download the press release here