BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The search is scrapped and the Baton Rouge Airport finally has a new director. In a 10 to 2 vote, the East baton Rouge Metro Council grounded the debate Wednesday night and appointed Interim Director J. Mike Edwards to the permanent post. In a statement, Edwards said he is looking forward to the challenge of developing BTR as an engine for economic development in the community.
While there was relief, the decision did not come without a bit of turbulence.
“We’re spinning our tires. We’re not going anywhere and I don’t see it going any different,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Wilson.
The airport has been without a director for nearly two years. Despite a national search and a committee presenting what they considered the best and brightest for the job, the council has gone back and forth for months, grid-locking on a choice in August and then again in October.
“This search has been a disaster,” said Wilson. “It’s been a circus.”
The delay in the process forced the top candidates to drop out of the running with some even taking jobs elsewhere. Councilwoman Barbara Freiberg made one final push Wednesday night to extend the search for 30 more days, something at least one of her colleagues was on board with.
“This is an area where I believe we need to do a little more homework,” said Freiberg.
“I think Baton Rouge is worth staying committed to the process of going out to the nation and asking for the best and brightest,” Councilman Dwight Hudson added.
Wilson slammed the idea though, saying the time for talk is over. “To go back to a search committee, we didn’t listen to them the first time, so I’m sure we’re not going to listen to them again,” said Wilson.
He believes a search would be a waste of time and that based on the way the process was handled, another search would likely turn up nothing.
“Anybody in their right mind who’s seen this process is not going to apply for here,” said Wilson. “They’ve seen this joke.”
Edwards officially takes over the role Thursday, November 15.