ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — The Rapides Parish School Board has hired a liaison from an independent firm to assist in the search for a replacement for Superintendent Gary Jones.

The Town Talk reports a 5-4 vote at a special board meeting Tuesday approved the motion to hire Loe Dunn, lead Louisiana consultant at McPherson & Jacobson LLC.

Board member Janet Dixon led the charge to hire an outside firm.

"The liaison piece is where we are bottlenecking in our (search) process," Dixon said. She found McPherson & Jacobson through a referral from the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Dixon presented a proposed agreement with the firm to board members. The agreement included as duties advertising for the position, organizing three public forums, completing an online survey of the community and recruiting and screening applicants.

Dixon motioned that the board hire Dunn with McPherson & Jacobson pending final review of the agreement by legal counsel.

McPherson & Jacobson is a consulting firm in Omaha, Neb., with 70 consultants across the country. Dunn is the lead consultant in Louisiana and lives in Morehouse Parish.

She said she has been a school board member for 20 years and knows the importance of choosing the right superintendent.

"This is the most important decision the board will ever make," Dunn said. "That's the reason I'm here tonight."

Dixon asked for a vote to send the item to the full board.

"I just am frustrated and feel as a board we should be in a better position than where we are in our search," Dixon said. "It's time for us to move on."


Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk,