North Baton Rouge economic development district leader resigns

    Rinaldi Jacobs, who was a lead organizer and the public face of the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, has resigned from the contract position he had with the agency, citing medical reasons.

    Jacobs informed BRNEDD Board Chairman Ron Smith of his resignation in a letter Thursday.

    “Chairman, my pledge in the summer of 2015 was to … take Legislative Act 433 and have it up and running, with a board and funded in three years,” Jacobs writes. “With the support and passion of the people of north Baton Rouge and many others beyond the district we met this goal in 18 months.”

    Act 433 created the BRNEDD, which is funded by a 2% hotel occupancy tax in north Baton Rouge approved by voters in late 2016.

    Jacob’s resignation comes as the BRNEDD board continues a months-long search for a permanent executive director. Jacobs and urban planner Woodrow Muhammad—who, with Jacobs, was under contract to help run the fledgling agency—both applied for that position earlier this year. Neither was selected by the board, however, which tabled the issue until after a strategic planning process was completed over the summer.

    In September, the board reopened the application process and increased the salary from $50,000 to between $60,000 and $65,000. In the weeks since, more than 50 hopefuls have applied. Applications will be accepted through today.

    Smith says the board’s personnel committee will review the applications and interview finalists later this month. The committee will then bring a short list of recommended candidates to the board for a vote in November.

    Jacobs tells Daily Report he would have applied again for the position had it not been for medical reasons, adding that he is proud of the work he did helping get the agency off the ground.

    “We did the hard work, clearing the field,” he says. “Now, it’s time for someone else to come in and build on what we started.”

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