EBR Mayor-President names Darryl Gissel as new CAO

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome named Darryl Gissel as her new Chief Administrative Officer Thursday during a news conference.

A Baton Rouge real-estate investor, Gissel ran as a non-party candidate against Broome during last year's election. He later endorsed her in the runoff.

"He will be a tremendous leader and asset to our office," Broome said.

Gissel is Broome's fourth CAO in a matter of 10 months. Long-time parish official William Daniel stuck around at the start of her term. By April, Broome announced her first pick: Troy Bell, who last worked in Washington state. He lasted just a matter of days after it was revealed he allegedly lied on his resume.

Since April, Dr. James Llorens has served as the interim-CAO. Llorens had a career in education and spent many years at Southern University, where his last position was chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus from 2011 to 2014.

EBR Metro Councilmember Tara Wicker said she is glad to see someone take the spot permanently. However, she warns Gissel is going to have a lot of ground to make up.

"He's going have to hit the ground running to make sure there are things being accomplished, so people can feel like Baton Rouge is moving forward," she said.

But what the mayor expects from her new hire remains vague at best.

"I see this job really as an administrative job, it's not the political job, it's the job to make sure things work," Gissel said.

When asked, Broome did not point to any specific projects that she wants Gissel to focus on. Instead, she named things like flood recovery, police reform, and economic growth.

"That is our rubric," she said.

For Gissel's part, he said he is hopeful he can take lessons learned in revitalizing downtown Baton Rouge and apply them to other parts of the parish.

"In Baton Rouge, many times we think we can't make change, we think we can't improve things. But downtown shows that we can," he said.

Gissel's first day at city hall is Monday. Current interim-CAO Llorens will be sticking around for at least two weeks to help get Gissel up to speed.

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