More than six months after the Metro Council fired former Parish Attorney Mary Roper, the committee searching for her replacement is narrowing its field of candidates. At a meeting this afternoon, the committee is expected to whittle down a list of 16 applicants to a short list of candidates who meet the specific criteria outlined by the committee at a previous meeting. The committee may decide to schedule interviews with those who meet the criteria, or to forward names directly to the Metro Council. The discussions are expected to take place in public, though the committee could vote to go into executive session.
Council administrator Casey Cashio—who is not on the search committee, but has been facilitating the meetings—says the committee has met four times since January. Interested applicants were required to submit resumes by Feb. 27. The committee has been reviewing the candidates since then.
“Eventually, the committee is required to send to the Metro Council a list of every applicant who meets the qualifications, along with a recommendation of their top three names,” Cashio says. “They may vote to narrow it down today, based on the resumes that have been submitted, or they may decide to call for interviews.”
Among those applying for the position is interim Parish Attorney LeAnne Batson, who was first assistant parish attorney under Roper. A potential snag with her application, however, is that the minimum qualifications for the position say the next parish attorney should be full-time with “limited or no outside practice.” Batson is classified as part-time because she is technically retired. In her cover letter, Batson says she works full-time hours and would continue to do so if selected for the position.
Metro Council member Buddy Amoroso has placed on the Metro Council agenda for Wednesday’s meeting an update from the committee on its progress. He says after more than six months it’s time to get a handle on when the search will be completed.
“I like timelines,” Amoroso says. “I think it’s real important East Baton Rouge Parish gets a parish attorney in place. If we don’t set timelines and timetables on this it will be year (since the position was vacated) so we really need to do something.”