Correction: The Advocate on April 22 quoted Neftalie Danier, assistant director of alumni relations for Bernard M. Baruch College, as saying Troy Bell — at the time the newly named chief administrative officer for East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome — did not have a master of public administration degree from that school. Danier said Bell owed money and hadn't completed the necessary coursework. Asked for comment at the time, Bell said that while he had not requested the diploma, he had completed the coursework required for the degree. Bell recently provided The Advocate with a diploma dated 2012 showing he was granted the degree by Baruch. When asked Nov. 29 about the issue, Suzanne Bronski, director of public relations of Baruch College, said Bell did receive the degree, but refused to answer more questions. Bronski said that under federal law, "we are only permitted to release the degree held and the date of the degree awarded."

Update, 5:33 p.m.: Troy Bell has resigned. Click here to read more.

Original story

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's new chief administrative officer, Troy Bell, does not hold the master's degree in public administration he claimed on the resume he submitted to become the top deputy at City Hall. 

Bell began his new role on Monday. Both on the resume he submitted to East Baton Rouge Parish government when he applied for the job and on his LinkedIn page, Bell says he holds an MPA from Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York. 

His resume says he received a degree in 2011 from the college in New York City, where he concentrated in city management and was at the top of his class in the School of Public Affairs. But Bell never completed the necessary coursework to receive his MPA and never received a degree, according to a university spokeswoman.

"He owes money and, second, his coursework — he has not completed," said Neftalie Danier, the school's assistant director of alumni relations, after conferring with the university's registrar's office.

Bell and Broome on Friday declined interview requests through city-parish Communications Director Janene Tate. Broome released a statement after The Advocate sent its findings to her about Bell’s MPA and other past job departures.

“I will immediately review the new information provided regarding Mr. Bell's background and will decide the best course of action,” Broome said in the statement. “In the meantime, I — along with my administration — will continue to be dedicated to business and initiatives that move the city-parish forward.”

Reached by phone, Bell declined to comment, referring all questions to Tate.

The news release announcing Bell's hiring notes that he "completed a Master of Public Administration degree" from the Baruch School of Public Affairs, as well as multiple bachelor's degrees from the University of Miami. 

Bell's job history came into question after he was announced by Broome as her new chief administrative officer. A 2006 article in the Tallahassee-Democrat newspaper indicated he was fired from two positions in Florida state government, while another article indicated he was terminated from his most recent position as deputy city manager in Walla Walla, Washington. 

Bell on Monday emphatically said he had voluntarily left jobs at the South Florida Water Management District and the real estate division of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 

Termination letters newly obtained by The Advocate confirm he was terminated, in one case following a paid suspension while he was placed under investigation. The letters are addressed to Darryl Bell; the chief administrative officer's full name is Darryl LeTroy Bell.

“This letter is to confirm your separation from the District effective as of August 12, 2003. ... You may also submit a written response to the charges and circumstances surrounding your termination for inclusion in your personnel file,” wrote Water Management District Human Resources Director Sandra Close-Turnquest.

A second letter by Real Estate Division Director Michael Murphy said, “This letter is to officially notify you that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation has determined that your services ... are no longer needed, effective 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 18 2006.” The real estate division is a branch of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Before he was fired from the real estate division, Bell was placed on leave and barred from contacting staff or stepping onto regulation department facilities, according to another letter.

The 2006 story in the Tallahassee Democrat said Bell was fired from the Florida Division of Real Estate for lying about the circumstances under which he left the water management district. Bell said Monday he left due to turmoil amid a change in the governor’s office but maintained that he departed voluntarily.

Bell wrote on his resume that he worked at the water management district between 1997 and 2002, which conflicts with his termination letter, which is dated August 2003. His resume states that he worked at the real estate office in 2003, which is also false. His termination letter is dated July 2006 — three years later.

Asked Monday why the dates did not match, Bell acknowledged then that his resume was wrong.

When asked Monday about Bell’s past firings, Broome said she was aware that he was let go from the city manager’s office in Walla Walla, Washington last year, assuring reporters that she knows how to use Google, where a search of his name brings up a news story about the termination. However, when asked if she was aware that he may have been fired from several jobs, she responded, “well, I don’t know about ‘several.’”

Broome said at the time that she felt “assured” that Bell could lead the day-to-day operations of the city because “he certainly rose to the top” during the interview process.

Bell also claimed to be a “ continuing guest lecturer” at Purdue University on his resume, a laurel Broome’s office noted when they announced he had been hired. However, he does not appear in Purdue faculty listings, and university spokesmen Brian Zink and Jim Bush were not able to find any evidence he ever worked there. Bell is listed on one online syllabus as a guest speaker for a class that checks in with education students who are performing full-time supervised teaching.

Though there are no laws governing who may call themselves university lecturers, the title has a commonly understood meaning in academia, said LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope.

“When a person says ‘I am a lecturer’ ... that means ‘I’m on staff,’” he said when asked about Bell’s assertion. 

The mayor-president cut the Monday interview short when asked about Bell’s two prior arrests in Florida. He was arrested in 1998 and 2000 with counts including false personation of a law enforcement officer, assault and battery, and battery of a law enforcement officer, though neither case was prosecuted and court and police records have been purged. In the Monday interview, Bell said that both arrests were based on false accusations. 

Broome’s lengthy search for her chief administrative officer started in January, when the city-parish's new Democratic leader took office. Throughout that time, she received 150 applications for the job, based on the resumes of all applicants that The Advocate received through a public records request.

The mayor-president said she interviewed around 10 candidates before deciding on Bell, who she hailed in the news release announcing his hiring as having an “impressive, documented record of public service on federal, state, and local levels.”

When asked to provide a list of all of the applicants who she interviewed for the job, Broome replied that she “preferred not to” because some of them are currently employed and she did not want to jeopardize their jobs.

Some people who applied included Jacques Molaison, a Democrat who was the chief operating officer of Jefferson Parish under John Young’s administration, and Laura Camcioglu, who held multiple public works and information technology leadership positions for the city of Houston. Both said they were never contacted about the job.

Another applicant was Curt Eysink, who ran the Louisiana Workforce Commission under former Gov. Bobby Jindal. Eysink said he had a conversation with Broome about the job after he sent in an application in early March, but that he did not know if he was ever deemed a finalist, nor did Broome have an obligation to tell him why he was not chosen.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson expressed disappointment when informed of the inconsistencies on Bell's resume.

The Republican head of the Metro Council has been on a family vacation this past week and said he hasn't yet met with Bell, but Wilson said that if the new chief administrative officer misrepresented his credentials, it shows a problem with Broome's office.

"That's on her," Wilson said. "They didn't do their due diligence."  

Follow Andrea Gallo on Twitter, @aegallo.​