Broome hoping to name new CAO in next two weeks

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome today said she will name a new chief administrative officer within the next two weeks to replace William Daniel, who held the position under former mayor Kip Holden and has filled the job temporarily for the city’s new leader.

Broome, speaking at the Press Club of Baton Rouge’s weekly meeting, noted the process for finding a CAO has progressed more quickly than her search for a new police chief. The mayor has previously stated her intent to replace current Chief Carl Dabadie Jr., who is protected by civil service rules. It remains unclear whether Dabadie will agree to step down.  “Our communications have been very positive and progressive,” Broome said when asked whether Dabadie has agreed to step down. “He understands my goals.”

The International Association of Chiefs of Police is helping with the search for a new police chief, she said.

Broome said shortly after being elected she would replace Daniel for the number two position in her administration. She has said her team would conduct a “national search” for a new CAO. The administration did not respond to a request before this afternoon’s publication for how many people applied and were interviewed for the position, or whether Broome has made a selection yet.

The mayor gave a broad-strokes outline of her first months in office, touching on flood recovery, police policies, transportation, education and economic development, among other things. Broome’s transition committee reports—policy recommendations on a wide array of topics compiled by several dozen area professionals and experts—will not be released until March 15, she said. The topics range from race relations to economic development to analyses of each local government department. The reports were due to her office Jan. 31. Broome said she has not seen any of the reports yet.

On her top priorities for transportation projects, Broome said the city-parish’s decision to delay a funding request for TramLink BR, which was reported by Daily Report this morning, “speaks for itself.” She added she supports leveraging dollars for things like a new Mississippi River bridge and high speed passenger rail between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Broome said that as of now, she will not be putting any tax measures on the ballot for the upcoming election, but she offered her support for a mental health facility. The deadline for tax measures is March 8, and funding for a mental health diversion center and a transportation plan are up in the air after voters rejected several tax increases last year.

Citizens would need to voice support for such tax measures before she would consider putting them on the ballot again, Broome added.

It remains unclear when the Department of Justice will release its report into the police killing of Alton Sterling last summer. Broome said she has no insight into a timeline for the report, but Broome’s office, along with Louisiana State Police and the governor’s office, have been coordinating for several months on how to respond to potential protests after the report is made public.

“I believe overall last year the protests were peaceful,” Broome said. “(But) I believe there’s always room for improvement” for police response to such protests.

—Sam Karlin

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