Who will be downtown’s next leader? DDD says search has slowed this summer

The Downtown Development District has been searching for a new executive director since the death of longtime leader Davis Rhorer in March. Now, board chair Melanie Montanaro says the search has slowed as commission members and city workers needed to assist in the search have been on summer vacations.

The DDD Commission first outlined its plans for the search in April. Now, as July comes to an end, efforts will continue.

Adding to the delays is the fact that all DDD commissioners have full-time jobs, Montanaro says. It’s a timing issue that makes it difficult to get all the information needed, especially when the commissioners cannot conduct business outside of meetings.

“We are working and trying to get as much information as we can to start the discussion in order to take action,” Montanaro says. “I want to have answers to any questions that might arise. I want to proceed, I don’t want to drag it out, but I don’t want to rush anything. I want to proceed in a methodical way.”

The commission also announced in May that it would move to seek Metro Council approval to create a search committee. However, the commission has not yet sent the motion to the council, Montanaro says, because it’s still trying to clarify whether the council’s approval is needed.

The commission, though, is still planning to form a committee in the future, Montanaro says. She believes the search committee will be made up of commission members, and she plans to bring up the topic at the next DDD meeting.

The commission is now working through its additional procedural questions, Montanaro says, but has gotten the parish attorney’s opinion on authority, something it said at its April meeting was necessary to proceed with the search.

In May, DDD recommended assistant executive director Gabe Vicknair for the interim executive director position, a move the Metro Council approved.

This story originally appeared in a July 26 edition of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.