James Gilmore, one of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s top aides, is stepping down from his role as assistant chief administrative officer effective Sept. 1.
Gilmore, in a resignation letter dated Aug. 14, said he will pursue private sector opportunities.
“I love this city, and will continue to be civically and politically engaged on issues that move us forward,” he wrote.
In a two-line statement, Broome said: “I am appreciative of Dr. James Gilmore’s commitment to my administration over the past several months. I wish him much success and blessings as he pursues other endeavors.”
Jim Llorens, the mayor’s interim chief administrative officer, says the administration is currently deciding on whether to replace Gilmore or eliminate the position and use the resources elsewhere. The mayor’s office has traditionally had several assistant chief administrative officers serving under the CAO, who essentially runs the day-to-day operations of city-parish government. Llorens has been interim CAO for several months since Broome’s initial pick, Troy Bell, lied on his résumé and resigned after a few days on the job.
“This is normal for an administration to go through that kind of turnover,” Llorens says, adding her team is reaching out to the business community and others for potential candidates for the permanent CAO job. “In terms of Dr. Gilmore’s position, there won’t be a rush” to fill the job, he says.
Maybe, but departures of Bell and Gilmore have each come under a shroud of controversy.
Gilmore came under criticism after it was revealed he administered a contract for the city-parish’s BRAVE anti-violence program to activist Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed, who in July made inflammatory comments about last year’s ambush killing of three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers.
The mayor suspended the contracts this summer and issued a lengthy report that blamed Kip Holden’s administration for many of the problems with the program. Gilmore’s resignation letter did not mention the BRAVE program.
“I think this reiterates the absolute importance of being able to surround yourself with good people,” says council member Buddy Amoroso, who has criticized Broome’s handling of the BRAVE program. Amoroso adds he thinks Llorens should become the permanent CAO, and lauded other members of Broome’s top staff.
Gary Chambers, an outspoken advocate for police reform who served on Broome’s transition team, says he is disappointed in the move and wanted Broome to reject Gilmore’s resignation.
Out of all Broome’s top staffers, Chambers says, Gilmore was perhaps most attuned to the community.
“I think he’s doing this because he’s attempting to not be a distraction for the mayor because the BRAVE fiasco was a distraction—it was a witch hunt,” Chambers says, adding that the report she issued vindicated her office.