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So that ended poorly. After months of searching for the city-parish’s second-in-command, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s choice for chief administrative officer, Troy Bell, lasted less than a week on the job after not-so-glamorous details about his previous work emerged. Here’s a timeline of how everything fell apart so quickly.
Days after being elected as Baton Rouge’s first African-American female mayor, Sharon Weston Broome announces she will look for a new chief administrative officer to replace William Daniel, who served as former Mayor Kip Holden’s No. 2. Broome also says she’ll look for a new police chief to replace Carl Dabadie. The search for Dabadie’s successor has not progressed since Broome’s declaration.
Broome tells Daily Report that she has received applications from across the country for the CAO position, but that she’s still looking for the right candidate. “I would like to think I’m getting closer to naming a CAO,” Broome says at the time. “I’ve been going through tons of résumés.”
Broome, speaking to the Press Club of Baton Rouge, says she will hire a new CAO within two weeks of her speech. The deadline lapses without an announcement.
After 100 days as mayor and no CAO hire yet, Broome tells Daily Report she “learned her lesson” after trying to self-impose a deadline for filling the post. “It’s not a process that could delegate to anybody. It’s a process that I personally had to be involved in and lead,” she says.
More than three months after her inauguration, Broome finally hires Troy Bell, the former deputy city manager of Walla Walla, Washington, as the city-parish’s chief administrative officer. Bell is touted as a person with “an impressive, documented record of public service on federal, state and local levels.” Daniel, who had filled the post in the interim, moves to the city-parish’s environmental services division.
Details emerge about Bell’s past, including reports in The Advocate that Bell lied on his résumé about having a master’s degree in public administration, and that he was fired from previous jobs when he claimed he resigned. Amid public furor, Bell steps down later that day. “I am disappointed that he chose to withhold information about his background,” Broome says in a statement announcing the resignation. Metro Council members express frustration over the debacle, saying they’re being left in the dark about the process.
James Llorens, the former chancellor of Southern University and a former assistant CAO under Holden, is tapped as interim CAO after Bell’s resignation. In a news release announcing Llorens’ appointment, Broome admits she “made a mistake” over Bell’s hiring, adding, “I accept full responsibility.” Broome does not give a timeline for a permanent CAO hire.