The current director of East Baton Rouge Parish’s Department of Public Works, William Daniel, will take over as Mayor-President Kip Holden’s chief administrative officer beginning Friday, according to a news release from Holden’s office.
Daniel will replace John Carpenter, who has been in the post since the summer of 2010.
“I want to work with the council members to get things done for the city,” Daniel said, adding that his government experience would be key. Before becoming DPW director, Daniel served in Holden’s administration as an assistant chief administrative officer.
Daniel said he and Carpenter had an “excellent working relationship.”
Rumors of the move had been circulating for more than a week. Holden spokesman Scott Dyer said in a July 20 email that they were nothing more than rumors, and on Monday Holden declined to answer questions about Carpenter’s status.
Carpenter has often been the mayor’s stand-in during contentious battles with the Metro Council over funding and priorities, such as a $200,000 per year contract for Washington lobbying firm Patton Boggs that the council twice rejected.
Carpenter said he met with Holden on Friday morning to discuss his status with the administration.
“We had a good conversation,” he said. “We basically just picked a date.”
Carpenter said he has been thinking about resigning “for awhile” and had been discussing it with Holden, who had left the decision up to Carpenter as to when he would depart.
“He said it was a decision I had to make,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said he didn’t think the move, coming in the early stages of what is sure to be a hotly-contested election fight with Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker and others, would have any bearing on the results of the election.
“I am convinced that (Holden) is going to win the election,” Carpenter said.
Holden did not respond to a message left with his office Friday seeking comment on the staffing changes. Walker, who was hosting a campaign fundraiser Friday evening, also did not return a call for comment.
Carpenter said he is leaving the position because he needs a break. He said his departure was not due to any conflict with the mayor, whom he said he admires.
“We are parting as great friends,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said he was looking forward to taking some time off, mentioning a planned family vacation in September and spending more time with his 2-year-old granddaughter. He said he intends to find a job after taking a break.
Carpenter said he will be assisting Daniel in making the transition to the CAO role during the upcoming week.
“William and I will be talking a lot,” Carpenter said. “I am working on a list.”
Two council members reached late Friday said Daniel was a good fit for the job.
“I am ecstatic,” C. Denise Marcelle said. “I think it will be an improvement.”
Marcelle said Daniel was willing to go “above the norm” to communicate with council members.
“William has been doing an excellent job with DPW,” Tara Wicker said. “He has a good relationship with the council.”
Daniel was once a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and ran against Holden in 2004, but didn’t make the runoff. He served as an assistant chief administrative officer before becoming public works director.
Daniel said he would make a recommendation to Holden about who he thinks should assume the top job at DPW, but declined to say whom he will recommend for the post.