The East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission received a consulting firm’s recommendations Thursday of the top 10 candidates to replace BREC Superintendent Bill Palmer.

SSA Consultants pared the list from 78 applicants after reviewing resumes and conducting telephone interviews, BREC Chairman Bill Benedetto said.

Those who made the initial cut include park and recreation managers from Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Atlanta, San Antonio, Dallas, Crozet, Va.; Wyomissing, Pa.; Moore, S.C.; Olathe, Kan.; and Montclair, Va.

A report by SSA Consultants said the firm reviewed résumés, assessed the most promising candidates and identified 21 for telephone interviews.

That list was pared to 10 and will be trimmed to six recommended finalists by mid-October, Benedetto said.

He said the finalists will be brought in for face-to-face interviews with BREC commissioners.

“We’re looking at interviews around the middle of October,” Benedetto said.

He said he’d like to have a decision on replacing Palmer, who is winding up a 32-year career with the department, at the board’s Oct. 27 meeting.

Benedetto said he’s impressed with the quality of the candidates, based on what SSA Consultants has told him of their credentials.

“I think it’s something to be said for BREC and its operation that we can attract the caliber of candidates that we have,” Benedetto said.

The candidates who made the list of 10 finalists, presented alphabetically, were:

e_SBlt Rusty Freeman Bahr, of Wyomissing, Pa. He is chief executive officer of the YMCA of Reading and Berks County, Pa., with a 24-year career in recreational management.

e_SBlt Charlene A. Braud, of Atlanta. The director of recreation in Atlanta, Braud is a former director of recreation for the New Orleans parks department.

e_SBlt Carolyn McKnight-Bray, of Dallas. Executive general manager of business development and procurement services for Dallas, she previously held management positions in that city’s parks and recreation department.

e_SBlt Jeffrey Caton, of Moore, S.C. He is executive director of the Spartanburg (S.C.) Park Commission.

e_SBlt Brian Daly, of Crozet, Va., director of parks and recreation in Charlottesville, Va.

e_SBlt E. Jay Ellington, of Montclair, Va. Executive director of the Prince William County Park Authority in Virginia, he is a former parks and recreation director for Ruston, where he also worked as a consultant.

e_SBlt Ted Jack, of Baton Rouge. An assistant superintendent at BREC since 2009, he previously served as BREC’s director of planning and engineering.

e_SBlt Stuart Johnson, of Lafayette, assistant secretary (director) of the Louisiana Office of State Parks.

• Gary Salva, of Olathe, Kan. He has been in management positions in parks and recreation departments in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas, serving most recently as director of parks and recreation in Wyandotte County, Kan.

• Jerry Smith, of San Antonio. He is manager/director of the Bexar County parks department in Texas.

The job description for BREC’s top job says the salary is negotiable and would be in the same range as those for similar positions elsewhere.

BREC Vice Chairman Verge Ausberry Jr. said after the meeting he thinks the selection process is moving forward well.

“I think we’ve got 10 good candidates,” Ausberry said.