The head of the committee charged with finding Gerald Breaux’s replacement at the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission would not confirm the names of the two finalists, but sources close to the selection process say Renee Areng and Ben Berthelot are the only remaining candidates.
In terms of tourism experience, Areng, executive vice president for sales and marketing at the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau, has the edge. She also was convention marketing manager at LCVC from October 1990 to November 2002. Berthelot is director of Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Community Development department.
The selection committee, which includes and was appointed by Hilton General Manager James Thackston (president of the LCVC board), is comprised of businessmen Rob Robison and Thomas Rogers and Holidome General Manager Ed Buchert. Thackston would not confirm the finalists Friday morning, saying the three candidates who did not make the cut may not have received their notification letters yet.
Susan Holliday, Mark Mouton and Dave Domingue were also semifinalists.
Areng and Berthelot are vying for the top post, executive director, which is opening up after almost 31 years due to Breaux's retirement.
Thackston chose the selection committee members based on their length of service on the board, according to Breaux. Ema Haq, who has been on the board since December 2001, however, declined to serve, saying he had too many other commitments. Both Rogers and Robinson joined in December 2003; and Ed Buchert joined in December 2005. Amos Batiste, whose service began in August 2008, was not named to the board because Thackston, who has been serving since March 2009, took a seat on the selection committee. The remaining board members are Lionel Prejean (3/3/09), Charlie Goodson (1/4/11) and Kendall Banks (12/21/10).
The LCVC board will meet in executive session to interview Areng and Berthelot on May 4. Thackston says no consideration was given to holding the interviews in the open, despite that this is a publicly funded position."We were told we didn't have to conduct the interviews in the full public," he says.
LCVC is supported by a hotel-motel tax in the parish. The bureau was created in 1974 to promote tourism and coordinate marketing efforts for Lafayette Parish.
The board hopes to make an offer May 1, with employment to begin no later than June 1.
Breaux will help with the transition process for about a month, as his last official day is June 29.
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NOV 26 Zach Kopplin, who we came to know and love when he was a Louisiana high school student lobbying for the continued inclusion of science stuff in science class, pens this post in The Atlantic about a "textbook" available for social studies instruction in Texas that discusses how Moses contributed to the Constitution. (Oy! Texas rednecks love Jews. Who knew?)
NOV 26 Finally, mad people on the interwebz is a good thing! World wide webby outrage has caused the village of Moreauville to reverse its plan to confiscate pit bulls and Rottweillers and euthanize them simply because of their breed, WAFB reports here. The plan? They're going to enforce the leash law. Well, that would have been a good place to start.
NOV 26 Jim Brown, like many of us Louisiana voters, seems fed up with out of town know-it-alls trying to tell us what to do. Bill Cassidy can't make it through the day without flying someone in to "tell us political retards" how to vote, he says.
NOV 26 Blogger Tom Aswell is writing about the behavior of the two finalists in the 6th Congressional District race: Edwin Edwards and Garret Graves. Edwards has come out swinging, but Graves' campaign seems bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Tom says.
NOV 26 Unless you're in Virigina, you shouldn't count on seeing our Governor on Election Day. Mark Ballard writes in the Advocate's political blog that Bobby will be appearing at a GOP love fest of some kind there, instead of spending the day here.
NOV 26 This post on The Lens takes a look at the ongoing dispute in New Orleans over the banners about the upcoming tax election for the school system. The banners are hanging on schools, and some feel they are promotional, which is not allowed, instead of educational - which is allowed.
NOV 26 Not all college students are focused on football games and parties at this time of year. This post on DIG Baton Rouge recounts an LSU student group that tries to make sure that those who are hungry and homeless are not forgotten by those of us who aren't.
NOV 25 Edwin Edwards took off the gloves on Monday, this post on WAFB tells us. At a Press Club appearance, he wondered how his 6th Congressional District opponent, Garret Graves, could be an expert in all the areas in which he claims to be - when he has no college degree in anything. (Five years - FIVE YEARS - in college, but no degree. Huh?)
NOV 25 Blogger Mike Deshotels offers this primer on predatory charter schools and how they operate, specifically in Louisiana. They're not just profiting from our tax dollars, they're using children and shortchanging them to do so, Deshotels says.
NOV 25 Here's a link to the petition that has been created to save Zeus, a family dog who is targeted for death by the learned fathers of the Avoyelles Parish village of Moreauville. They passed an ordinance based on nothing that outlaws pit bulls and Rotweillers. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 230,000 signatures - a number that's a wee bit higher than the village population of 929.
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