Mayor-President-elect Sharon Weston Broome said Thursday she's taken the first steps in a search to replace two longtime fixtures of outgoing Mayor-President Kip Holden's administration.
Broome said she has reached out to national organizations to help recruit candidates to fill the roles of Baton Rouge Police Department Chief Carl Dabadie and Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel. All city-parish department heads will take on the title of interim on January 1, 2017 as Broome tries to fill her administration with people of her choosing.
Broome was vocal on the campaign trail about wanting to replace Dabadie. But Thursday's news conference was the first time she indicated she wouldn't be keeping on Daniel, a cornerstone of Holden's administration, as chief administrative officer.
"While he will not be in the role as CAO, I envision that there may be other opportunities for him in city government," Broome said of Daniel.
She called Daniel "a great public servant," citing his institutional knowledge and his years spent working at City Hall. She said Daniel will stay on as interim chief administrative officer until a new CAO is hired.
The period between Broome being elected and taking office has been the shortest transition period on record, with less than a month between the runoff election and the January 2 inauguration. She said she has met with nearly every Metro Council member and city-parish department head.
Broome said she has started soliciting feedback from national groups that represent police chiefs and government administrators as she seeks to fill the positions of police chief and CAO. She said she will search "far and wide" to fill both positions.
The logistics of replacing Dabadie have yet to be spelled out, as the police chief is appointed by the mayor-president but also protected by state civil service rules. When Holden tried to fire former police chief Dewayne White in 2013, White hired an attorney and filed an appeal with the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service board.
But White eventually left on his own accord, without the board weighing in on a definitive answer for whether Holden had the authority to fire him.
Broome said repeated multiple times during her news conference that she had "positive and progressive" conversations with Dabadie about the future role of the police chief, though she said it was "premature" to comment on Dabadie's future in the Police Department or how he could be replaced.
She said she wants to find a chief who will build community policing into the department and who will be innovative. The interim titles for all city-parish department heads and the replacements of Dabadie and Daniel are part of a normal turnover process "since each department head serves at the pleasure of the mayor-president," she said.
"It is the expectation, I think, of most new administrations coming in to allow the CEO — in this case, the mayor-president — to build her own team," Broome added.
More than 300 volunteers have given input on Broome's transition process. The committees she formed to study city government have started meeting, and will continue to meet and make recommendations throughout January.
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Finally, Broome reminded people of her upcoming inauguration activities, which are free and open to the public this weekend. She will have a celebration of faith at 6 p.m. on Sunday —New Year's Day — at Star Hill Church.
Her actual inauguration will be at 5 p.m. on Monday at the Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Raising Cane's River Center. Afterward, Broome will host a "Celebrate Baton Rouge!" party at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center downtown.
"One of the reasons I decided to do this is because I've talked for so long about this being an inclusive process," Broome said of why she chose to open all the inaugural events to the public.
"Many of our citizens are still dealing with recovery efforts, including the mayor-elect," Broome said. "I don't want anyone to feel intimidated about having to look a certain way, or buy a certain outfit to participate in the inaugural events."
Mayor-President-Elect Sharon Weston Broome's campaign team has announced plans for inaugurat…
Broome is asking those who want to attend the inauguration to RSVP at www.ebrinauguration.com so they can get a sense for how many people to expect at the event.
Though the inauguration is free, Broome is asking attendees to bring non-perishable food items to help restock the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, which was hit by the August floods.