Walter Monsour, who stepped down recently under fire over funding and his salary as head of the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority and previously was a chief administrative officer to Mayor-President Kip Holden, has been hired by CSRS Inc.
Established in 1978, CSRS describes itself as a firm of engineers, architects, planners, surveyors and fund-sourcing experts. It specializes in infrastructure, facilities, commercial development and grants management with public- and private-sector clients across the southeastern United States.
CSRS, which is based in Baton Rouge and has an office in New Orleans, said Monsour is joining its senior leadership team to lead a newly consolidated private sector development business unit.
The company cited Monsour’s 40 years of experience, which includes infrastructure management, land development and infrastructure financing, and public-private partnerships.
“At CSRS, we recently went through a process to identify additional private-sector areas and markets where our firm could add value to and build upon the work we already do for our private-sector clients,” said Michael Songy, CSRS president and CEO. “… Walter’s broad experiences in both the private and public sector will only further ensure that the needs of the communities we serve are taken into account as we work with our clients on private developments ranging from small neighborhoods to large-scale corporate headquarters or facilities,” Songy said.
Before joining CSRS, Monsour was president and CEO of the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, an agency tasked with redeveloping blighted, underserved areas of the parish. Its two most high-profile redevelopment projects are Ardendale, formerly called Smiley Heights, which envisions 850 residential units and 35,000 square feet of retail, and the conversion of the Entergy building on Government Street into a 6-acre, mixed-use development.
Monsour left the agency in November, under fire for several weeks because the RDA was running out of money and receiving criticism from Holden for Monsour’s $365,000 compensation package.
Monsour’s resignation letter said he was leaving to “extend the financial life of the RDA.” The agency — projected to run out of funds by the end of 2015 — had been relying on federal tax credit programs from which funding had dried up. It sought $3 million in funding from the city-parish budget, voting to ask the Metro Council to overrule Holden’s rejection of the funds.
Monsour previously had served as parish attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish and the city, then as chief administrative officer to Mayor-President Pat Screen and later as Holden’s CAO.
Between those stints as CAO, he worked in the private sector, where he participated in numerous business ventures and land development activities, neighborhood developments and corporate expansions.