Another shuffle in the mayor's office with departure of spokesperson
BATON ROUGE – The mayor appears to be losing another key member of her administration.
WBRZ learned Wednesday, Janene Tate is set to become the director of communications for the Southern University System. Tate is currently the mayor's spokesperson, handling media requests and availabilities. Tate is essentially the city's chief publicist.
Tate has handled Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's public message since April. According to a previous report by The Advocate, Tate was working on a contract and was paid $39,000. In a phone conversation with WBRZ Wednesday evening, Tate said her contract with the city was set to end December 31 and that the Southern position had quickly developed.
According to an agenda item outlining Friday's board of supervisors meeting, Southern is requesting its governing body approve a $75,000 salary for Tate. The position will likely oversee all external communication for the Southern University System.
"Janene Tate has served this administration and city well over the past seven months as communication director. I wish her great success as she further advances her career," the mayor said in a statement Wednesday.
In the same statement, Tate herself added: "It is a great honor to work with Mayor-President Broome's administration. I will continue to serve the people of East Baton Rouge Parish under her leadership until the very end of this contract. I look forward to continued collaboration as I transition back into higher education in our capital city."
Tate's departure comes as the mayor's office has wobbled over a solid cabinet. It wasn't until only a few weeks ago that Broome hired a Chief Administrative Officer – the day-to-day operator of city business.
Former mayoral candidate Darryl Gissel was hired in October. Gissel, hired ten-months into the mayor's first year in office, replaced former CAO and Kip Holden administrator William Daniel. Daniel stayed on for the first few months of the new administration but was reassigned to a different role when the mayor hired Troy Bell, an out-of-towner who resigned only days later after his questionable resume came to light. From then until October, former Southern chancellor James Llorens was filling in as the interim CAO.
Daniel resigned from city government in October after being transferred to public works. Within hours of his resignation, Ascension Parish announced Daniel was hired as the new Infrastructure Division Director.
Also among the high-ranking shuffles is the ongoing search for a police chief. The mayor said she plans to hire someone by the end of the year.
Broome took office January 1, 2017.
Tate starts at Southern in January.
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