Baton Rouge planning commission sets interviews

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Four finalists for the city-parish planning director's job will be invited back to Baton Rouge for another round of interviews after the Planning Commission's top pick removed his name from consideration last week.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1kEWm8g ) those still in the running include planners from Atlanta, Central, Norfolk, Va., and Columbus, Ga., with decades of experience in the field.

Commissioners say they are hopeful that another round of interviews, following initial interviews earlier this month, will give more insight into the candidates so a final decision can be made. The timeline isn't yet finalized, and it could be several days before interview dates are set.

"I want the commission to feel confident in the process that we have utilized," Planning Commission Chairwoman Tara Wicker said. "I think it was a good process. There are always things that may occur that you don't have control over."

The commission appeared to reach a final decision after spending more than four months vetting more than 90 applications for the parish's top planning job.

Cincinnati Planning Director Charles Graves declined the job offer Wednesday, a decision Wicker attributed to media attention.

The candidates invited back to Baton Rouge for second interviews are:

— Woodrow Muhammad, the planning director for Central, who has degrees from LSU and Southern University.

— Former planning director for Norfolk, Va., Frank Duke, who holds degrees from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Auburn University and Florida State University, and served as an intern for Baton Rouge's retired planning director, Troy Bunch.

— Don Broussard, who owns a planning and design firm in Atlanta, has previously served in public planning roles in that area and has degrees from Georgia Tech and LSU.

— Former East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission planning director Carolyn Rutledge, of Columbus, Ga., who has a degree from Ole Miss.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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