The search for a Terrebonne Parish Recreation director has been narrowed to three candidates by a board charged with combing through resumes and applications, plus an additional candidate chosen by Parish President Gordon Dove, interviews and an examination of public records reveal.
Dove is expected to announce his choice next week, and that person must be approved by the Parish Council.
The finalists are:
- Landon Tims, director of parks and recreation for the city of Bogalusa
- Ellender Memorial High head football coach David McCormick
- Southwest Mississippi College football coach DeMorrius Jones
- Roddy Lerille, personnel manager was interviewed by the committee after its initial picks were sent to Dove.
Lerille has served in various volunteer athletic coaching positions and is currently the personnel manager at C&G Boats, a Golden Meadow marine transportation company.
The vacancy occurred when former TPR director Sterling Washington resigned from the post amid fallout from the presence of a former volunteer coach facing an unresolved human trafficking charge at program events with young girls. No impropriety was alleged against either the former coach, Derrian Williams, nor Washington. But questions were raised after Washington denied knowledge of Williams’ presence and photographs showing him at the events in the vicinity of Williams surfaced.
The agency, along with two parish recreation districts are undergoing audits ordered by Dove in the face of various alleged improprieties. Recreation districts are independent entities with their own budgets and authority to levy taxes.
The director will be responsible for the TPR’ $2 million annual budget.
Jones’ application says he earned a sports administration undergraduate degree at Belhaven University and a masters in sports science at Jackson State University in Mississippi. As an assistant coach at Mississippi Community he has handled administration, assistance with the budget and travel coordination in addition to other duties. Prior work has included athletic coaching and teaching and management at a U-Haul location in Mississippi.
McCormick is a certified teacher who whose undergraduate degree is in general studies, earned at Nicholls State University. He also graduated from a distance liberal studies program at Fort Hayes State University, based in Kansas.
He has won praise for his work as a coach at Ellender, as well as at South Terrebonne High School where he coached before that.
Tims is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, his resume states. There he earned a degree in kenisiology, which is the study of body movements. For eight years he has held his Bogalusa post. In that position he has operated within an assigned budget, created and supervised recreational programs, supervised parks and their maintenance. He has been a health and physical education instructor and, in the past, provided homecare services.
The late entry, Lerille, is a general studies graduate from Nicholls, where he also did graduate-level work in curriculum and instruction, according to his application. He coordinates personnel, payroll, grocery orders and other services for C&G, where he has worked for more than a decade. Prior to that he worked as an outside salesman for Brady Diesel. In addition to his service on the Lafourche recreation board, he has coached sports that include track and field as well as basketball and soccer.
The selection committee, chosen by Dove, is a panel taken from the worlds of government as well as recreation.
Dana Ortego, along with Parish Manager Mike Toups, planner Chris Pulaski -- who currently serves as acting TPR director -- along with parish consultant David Prevost, Juvenile Detention Director Joe Harris, parish CFO Kandace Maulden and Recreation District 6 board member Laura Browning, who also serves on Dove’s parish-wide recreation committee, are the members.
They selected eleven candidates out of approximately 29 applications for actual interviews. When the interviews were done each member selected three choices. The committee was in general agreement on the top eleven, with each member ranking their favorites according to their individual preferences. The group then chose their top three picks, Tims, Jones and McCormick.
Toups advised Dove in a July 16 memo of the committee’s three choices. Dove met with candidate McCormick the next day at his office at the Terrebonne government tower. On July 19 he met at his home with Tims, and also at his home with Jones on July 20. Later that same day he had a meeting at his home with Lerille.
On July 22 Ortego sent an e-mail to a parish human resources specialist stating that at the request of Dove, Lerille’s resume should be sent to committee members including himself. Lerille was interviewed by the committee on July 23.
In an interview Friday Dove praised the work of the committee and their choices. He said his request to have the committee take a second look at Lerille -- who had not made the second or third cuts -- was made after he had reviewed all resumes personally. That resulted in the private interview. In his opinion Lerille stood out, he said, enough for him to have word sent to the committee.
Dove is not bound to select one of the committee’s final choices, and has final authority over what name he will bring to the Parish Council.
“I don’t want someone whose background is just coaching,” Dove said. “We also need someone who has administrative experience.”