James Gilmore, the former chief administration officer for city-parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, has been named the interim executive director of the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District by its board as the former director leaves for a new job in Texas.
Gilmore, a board member of the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, also known as Impact North Baton Rouge, is stepping up to the role for 90 days, after more than half an hour of board discussion in a closed-door executive session. In the meantime, the board's personnel committee expects to meet and begin the executive search for a new leader.
Gilmore, president of Baton Rouge-based consulting firm Bayard Management Group, will not be compensated for the extra duties beyond his board membership.
Gilmore, an alumnus of Southern University, has worked in the region for decades, ranging from the administrator for the federal Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination anti-gang initiative to a policy adviser on social services, housing and community development under former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
The previous executive director, Jerry Jones Jr., took a job in Richmond, Texas, near Houston, to do economic development.
Gilmore declined comment on his appointment, citing board policy, and deferred questions to the board chair.
"He has extensive experience working with other organizations to help them with policies and procedures for organizational structure, so we thought he would be the ideal candidate," said Jaqueline Mims, chair of the board.
It was not immediately clear how much money will be set aside for a new executive director's contract. The previous contract allocated $80,000 for salary plus benefits.
The goal is to hash out more clarity about the organization's overall strategy to promote economic development in the area.
The development district was created by the Legislature in 2015 as a political subdivision of the state. But the organization was not funded by a slice of the hotel/motel taxes from area properties until several years later.
"It has been a long road and our funding is contingent upon the hotel tax, and when it's a good football season we have greater revenue because we have more people in hotels. Funding has been an issue for us that has impeded us from doing many of the projects that we have expressed desires to do," Mims said. "We're looking for an executive director to come in and establish partnerships at all levels, … especially someone who can advance the mission but also in soliciting additional funds even through grant writing."
The 2% hotel and motel occupancy tax supporting the organization only applies to properties within the district's boundaries of Florida Boulevard on the south; Mickens Road, Hooper Road and Harding Boulevard on the north; Scenic Highway on the west; and North Sherwood Forest Drive on the east.