Longtime Executive Director Richard Murray speaks at the East Baton Rouge Housing Authority Board meeting on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. A divided board voted later in the meeting not to renew Murray's contract, after board members received additional information about $52,000 he received in salary overpayments, and grilled him about an incomplete grant application.

The East Baton Rouge Housing Authority has put together a search committee and expects to hire a consulting firm to help find their next director.

Housing Authority board members voted late last year against renewing a contract for longtime director Richard Murray. They credited Murray with bringing stability to the agency, but said they were frustrated with him pocketing $52,000 in overpayments and missing an application deadline for a major grant.

Murray said he never noticed the overpayments, which amounted to $1,000 extra per paycheck over two years. He paid back the money to the Housing Authority after board members caught the error.

Top two Housing Authority executives claimed not to notice extra $52,000 and $22,000 in paychecks

Housing Authority board chairwoman Dianna Payton said they hope to find a replacement for Murray by September. He is remaining in his role until his contract runs out in October.

Payton said they hope to spend no more than $20,000 on a search firm with experience finding housing executives.

Search committee members include: Louisiana Housing Corporation’s Keith Cunningham; Baton Rouge Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel; HUD consultant Al Gensler; Redevelopment Authority head Chris Tyson; Mid city Development Alliance’s Sam Sanders; Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis; and Housing Authority board members Al Barron and Chris Odinet. Payton will also chair the committee. 

Follow Andrea Gallo on Twitter, @aegallo.​