Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, who is president of the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, Inc., told county judges and surrogates from six coastal counties that there were nine responses to requests for proposals for a general engineering consultant to the corporation. Listen: RealPlayer MP3
"The RFQ was drafted pretty broadly, looking for a wide range of qualifications," Eckels said. "We received some very strong RFQ responses and I was very impressed with the folks that we have in this community."
However, Eckels suggested that the process should be narrowed in scope to determine which firms are interested in the administrative function of the corporation to help develop a broader feasibility study for a storm surge protection system. Thus, the corporation board voted to allow Eckels to contact the nine firms to narrow the scope to select an administrative consultant, who then will assist in the selection of a consultant to develop the study.
All six counties were represented at the meeting. Guy Robert Jackson, former mayor of Anahuac, represented Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia; Jeff Branick, who is on the staff of Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker and will become Jefferson County Judge in January, represented Jefferson County. Brazoria County Judge Joe King; Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux; and Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough, who chaired the meeting, were the other participants.
The group voted unanimously to name Frost Bank as the corporation's depository bank. Frost has agreed to provide the service on a no-fee basis.
The group voted to approve an engagement letter with Winstead PC to act as counsel for the corporation.
The group voted to defer action on the appointment of three at-large members to serve in addition to the county judges.
"Judge, I was hopeful that Judge Thibodeaux, Judge Sylvia and I would have an opportunity to talk before considering an at-large director from our area," Branick said.
Yarbrough agreed that the county judges of Jefferson, Orange and Chambers counties should select an at-large member; and the county judges of Galveston, Harris and Brazoria counties should select one. A third at-large member will be selected by the entire group.
Several persons representing environmental organizations appeared before the board.
Listen: RealPlayer MP3
Eckels and former Kemah Mayor Bill King reported on a recent forum at Rice University that discussed storm surge protection. Listen: RealPlayer MP3
"He spoke there and did a lot of work on bringing this issue to the forefront," Eckels said of King's participation. "The emergent consensus is at least that it is worth the review and I am excited about the prospects of providing protection to this upper Texas coast and particularly the coordination between the Houston-Galveston region and the Orange, Jefferson and Sabine basin."
"I think we have a lot of talented people out there and a lot of good ideas and I think this is going to produce a lot of food for thought," King said.