Parish attorney search committee to meet Tuesday; one applicant drops out

More than a month after applications were due for the vacated East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney post, the search committee formed to recommend a replacement to the Metro Council will hold its first meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Initially six applicants submitted resumes ahead of the May 17 deadline for the parish attorney position, open since January when Lea Anne Batson abruptly resigned amid an effort to remove her from the job.

But since then, one applicant has withdrawn, according to council administrator Ashley Beck, leaving five candidates in the running:

  • Interim Parish Attorney Andy Dotson, who served as city prosecutor for the past four years and has worked within the parish attorney’s office for nearly 10 years
  • Greg Rome, director of risk management and litigation in the parish attorney’s office, who also runs his own private law firm
  • Elizabeth Smyth Rambin, a Baton Rouge attorney at Zurich American Insurance Company, who has worked previously for law firms in Mandeville and Metairie
  • La Koshia R. Roberts, a Lake Charles-based attorney, compliance and CRA officer at Lakeside Bank, a member of the Louisiana Ethics Board, with prior experience as an attorney in local and state government positions
  • Joseph K. Scott, a Baton Rouge attorney who worked in the parish attorney’s office from 2009 to 2017 and previously worked at the parish’s juvenile court, the Louisiana Trial Association and Louisiana Public Broadcasting

The sixth applicant who withdrew her name was Valencia Vessel-Landry, an attorney based in Plaquemine, who previously served as the White Castle town attorney.

Once the search committee reviews and recommends candidates for the position, the Metro Council will ultimately select the applicant who will become the next parish attorney.

Councilman Chandler Loupe has an introductory item on the June 26 meeting agenda to appoint a new parish attorney, which will be up for public hearing and a vote August 14.

The last time the council had to hire a parish attorney in 2015—after the firing of Mary Roper—it followed the same protocol, a process that took months.

The parish attorney position has been in question since December when councilman LaMont Cole initiated an effort to oust Batson. Cole never gave a reason for the move. Before the Metro Council could hold a removal hearing, though, Batson resigned on Jan. 22.

The search committee will consist of designees from the LSU Law Center, Southern University Law Center and the Baton Rouge Bar Association, as well as Metro Council members Erika Green and Trae Welch, both attorneys.

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