One of the first governmental leaders of Central has been removed from his position, Central Mayor Jr. Shelton confirmed Tuesday.

Shelton let go his chief administrative officer, David Barrow, but will not say what led to Barrow’s termination.

The mayor called it a personnel matter, and other past Central officials said they don’t know why Barrow was relieved of his duties.

“He was informed that we were gonna go in a different direction,” Shelton said about his decision, which he delivered Monday morning.

Barrow did not return a request for comment. Many Central residents took to social media to praise Barrow’s work in city government and to question Shelton’s decision, saying Barrow was in touch with his community.

Barrow has been one of the city’s leaders since Central’s first days as a city in 2005. Before working in Central government, Barrow was a teacher in the East Baton Rouge school system.

Former Councilman Louis DeJohn said Barrow was instrumental in planning and zoning for the city under former Central Mayor Mac Watts’ administration.

Watts and Russell Starns, who was one of Central’s founders, both declined to comment about Barrow on Tuesday.

DeJohn said he doesn’t know why Shelton dismissed Barrow, but he is friends with both of them.

“I’ve had nothing but good relationships with David,” DeJohn said. “And I’ve been proud of what the mayor’s done since he’s been in office.”

Councilman Wayne Messina agreed, saying he does not know why Barrow was dismissed, but he considers him a personal friend.

“He’s a good citizen of Central,” Messina said, noting that they are both involved in the Central Community Alliance.

Shelton said he does not have a replacement for Barrow lined up yet, but he hopes to have someone in place within 30 days.