The Downtown Long Beach Alliance has narrowed down the search for its new president and CEO to three finalists, but the normally confidential process has been complicated by a member of the search committee leaking details about the top contenders.

At the DLBA board’s last regular meeting on Aug. 17, chair Loara Cadavona warned her members that “there’s a member of the search committee who has been communicating to potentially some board members and some potential community members some candidate names.”

High-profile job searches like this one are normally kept confidential to protect the candidates from any repercussions they might suffer from applying for or not getting the position.

Cadavona said she had addressed this breach with the search committee member in question, and she reminded the board that the organization has an obligation to keep the sensitive application process private.

“I just can’t express the need for confidentiality around this process,” she said, according to a recording of the meeting provided by the DLBA.

The influential nonprofit runs two business improvement districts in Downtown Long Beach where it uses a budget of over $5 million to boost the area with economic development programs, public events, and their red-shirted clean teams who regularly power-wash sidewalks and maintain the area.

Since November though, it’s been without a top executive after it “mutually agreed to part ways” with longtime President and CEO Kraig Kojian following an investigation into his alleged mistreatment of employees.

In the wake of Kojian’s departure, the DLBA board assembled a search committee that would operate independently from the board as it sought a replacement. The committee included fixtures in the Downtown community such as Shoreline Village General Manager Debra Fixen, Studio One Eleven Senior Principal Alan Pullman, Long Beach Assistant City Manager Linda Tatum, Waterford Property Company Co-Founder Sean Rawson, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeremy Harris, and Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Steve Goodling.

Over more than six months, committee members sought applicants and then winnowed down 58 interested candidates to nine interviewees and, ultimately, three finalists who will be presented to the DLBA’s board in ranked order as a top candidate with two alternates.

The board will soon meet in closed session where the candidates will be presented for members to approve a job offer in compliance with the Brown Act, California’s open-meetings law.

But before that could happen, according to two people familiar with the situation, Goodling began revealing the names of the finalists: Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association Executive Director Blair Cohn, DLBA’s Economic Development and Policy Manager Austin Metoyer, and Carl Kemp, chief communications officer of environmental affairs at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Goodling shared the names and details of their performance in job interviews with some DLBA board members and other influential community members as he advocated for Kemp, his choice for the job, according to two sources, who asked not to be named in order to discuss private conversations they viewed as inappropriate.

Goodling did not respond to messages Wednesday.

The three candidates either declined to comment or were unavailable.

Cadavona, the DLBA chair, declined to say anything beyond her public plea for privacy at the Aug. 17 meeting.

Downtown Long Beach Alliance and its president ‘have mutually agreed to part ways’

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.