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Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves
by Jim Guidry
Monday, May 23, 2011

The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the design services and construction management agreement with A/W Mechanical Services, LP for Phase V improvements to the Del Monte Refrigerated Warehouse at Piers 16 and 18 at a cost not to exceed $1,361,090. 

“They have decided to go ahead and do improvements,” explained Deputy Port Director Michael Mierzwa. “Included in those improvements would be adding some extra pallet storage, modernizing the refrigeration equipment, and doing some other work in there that’s going to increase the efficiency of the operation.”   
MP3  RealPlayer

The wharves board voted to accept the 2009 Audited Galveston Wharves Pension Plan that was conducted by Null-Lairson PC.  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

The wharves board voted to move forward on a proposal from Unison Site Management LLC to enter into a wireless communication easement and assignment agreement for property currently leased to T-Mobile, Texas.

The wharves board deferred action on a proposal from T&T Marine Salvage, Inc. to amend its lease and development agreement with the board for the Old Navy Dock property on Pelican Island, to provide for two additional five-year extensions to the term of the contract.

The wharves board met in executive session to discuss an offer of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by DRC Emergency Services, LLC and then authorized Port Director Steve Cernak to enter into negotiations with terms agreed upon in executive session.

The wharves board
also authorized Cernak to enter into negotiations with Eagle Remediation Services, Inc. and Art's Roofing LLC in connection with claims resulting from work performed by those entities at the Gulf Copper leasehold on Pelican Island, based on terms agreed upon in executive session.

The wharves board took no action on agenda items calling for review of the status of a proposed lease/concession transaction for port properties being pursued by the board's financial advisor, BMO Capital Markets GKST.

The wharves board took no action on issues related to the ingress, egress and holding patterns of truck traffic making calls at the port, including the possible provision of parking/standing areas at the port for those vehicles.

All other agenda items were approved.
  All votes were unanimous. Agenda

International Longshoremen’s Association Local 20 President Ted O’Rourke and his wife Charlotte, who was once a wharves board member, both addressed the board to complain about a Galveston County Daily News article that was headlined with a “demand” by the O’Rourkes for an apology from the port about its response to open records requests.

“After a nice Easter, I turned on the Internet and I watched a board meeting, that I felt was improperly posted and sent you a letter,” Charlotte O’Rourke said.  “Big difference between what was printed in the paper, that says ‘O’Rourkes Demand Apology’ and the letter we sent you that says ‘we would appreciate’ an apology.” Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

Laura Elder, the GCDN reporter who wrote the story, said that the incorrect headline was written by the copy desk, but she said that the article itself accurately quoted the O’Rourkes.  

Former wharves board chair John Eckel took issue with the O’Rourke’s complaints and their request for an apology from the port.

“I want to commend this board,” Eckel said, noting the difficulties of managing the port and dealing with the large number of open records requests that the O’Rourkes have submitted, insisting that the port does not owe the O’Rourke’s an apology.  “Let’s be honest with what the O’Rourke’s agenda is.  The O’Rourke’s agenda is to get rid of Steve Cernak.“  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

Cernak, in his report to the board, said that the port's finances are improving. 
MP3  RealPlayer

“The port is continuing a growth cycle, we are emerging from a recession, we’re emerging from a hurricane, and I think the numbers ultimately will speak for themselves,” Cernak said.  “Our year-to-date tonnage figures are over 22 percent higher than they were for the same period last year.  Our port revenues are up about 7.7 percent when compared to that same time period so we are showing growth in revenues.”

Cernak said ILA man hours have increased approximately 18 percent over last year.

“So, I like to think we are doing something right up here,” Cernak said.

Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

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