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Search for new MPC Director leads to debate - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Search for new MPC Director leads to debate

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

In 2013, Shreveport news was filled with debates about a dog park, the city's  financial advisor, and water and sewer woes. 2014 opens with a new debate, who should have a say concerning the next director of the city's Metropolitan Planning Commission. It's the MPC's job to decide where businesses and homes should go throughout the city. The former director retired after more than 30 years and now city and parish officials say they want a say in who's going to be the next director.

But that request has met some challenges.

Parish commissioner Matthew Linn says that's why parish officials need to at least be in the room when the MPC interviews applicants for the new director's position. "The executive director of the MPC has the power to either steer us in the direction that everybody wants to go or bring us to a screeching halt."

Parish commissioner John Escude says both the city and parish appoint MPC members and provide it's funding. Escude says he doesn't see why they wouldn't get a seat at the table. "It's the most important position we're going to hire. It's going to be for a long time because it's going to be for the development business-wise and residential for our area, and as stagnant as that is, we need someone top notch. We need somebody qualified. We don't need to hire somebody's best friend or somebody's buddy. They don't need to be owned by anybody or owe anybody any favors."


"We are acting as an independent body and we're just following our own laws." Lea Desmarteau is the MPC's interim president. She says laws governing the planning commission don't give the city or parish voting authority but officials appoint MPC's members to make decisions. "So they do have a seat at the table but it's going to be through our independent board. We think legally we need to uphold that and stay independent," DesMarteau concluded.

Requests for applications for MPC director have been posted. Right now, the deadline for those applications is set for April 15th. And officials say they hope to fill the position by late spring. The MPC has also requested the Attorney General's assistance on the debate of who gets a say in the director selection process. They have submitted their question to the AG and are waiting to hear his final decision to help put the issue to rest.

 

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