The Port of Houston Authority Commission today voted unanimously to award $20 million for security-related contracts, including installation of fiber optic cable, TWIC implementation and security gate services.
“I congratulate you on being the leader in the security management field,” said Patti Macon, environmental, health and safety certification manager for ABS Quality Evaluations, Inc. “We consider the Port of Houston Authority our partner in security management system evaluation.”
The commission voted unanimously to table action on review of the employment of Chief Executive Officer Alec G. Dreyer, after PHA Chair Jim Edmonds announced that attorney Rusty Hardin has been retained to help facilitate investigations of the port by the Harris County Attorney and the Harris County District Attorney. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Hardin said he would not be “defending” the port, but helping to coordinate the investigations by the two agencies. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Janiece Longoria, who proposed the item dealing with Dreyer’s evaluation, made the motion to table it after Edmonds announced that Hardin had been retained, but she and Elyse Lanier each made statements. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Several people signed up to address the board in defense of Dreyer and in support of the direction that the port is taking. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
The list included John Foster, vice president and chief operating officer of Coutinho & Ferrostaal, Inc.; Clyde Fitzgerald, president of the South Atlantic & Gulf Coast District International Longshoremen’s Association; Nora Mead Brownell, partner in ESPY Energy Solutions, LLC and former commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Father Rivers Patout, chaplain of the Houston International Seafarers Center.
“We have a winning thing here,” Foster said.
In addition, prior to the meeting, numerous port employees stood in the hallway in support of Dreyer.
Former Harris County tax assessor-collector Paul Bettencourt also addressed the commission.
“The whole decision about the cruise terminal has left the county taxpayers on the hook for a $108 million facility, with probably no very high possibility of that facility being utilized in the near future,” noting that he previously urged use of revenue bonds, not tax supported bonds, for the cruise terminal.
In his report to the commission, Dreyer said that the month of March was strong in all commodity categories, calling it the best month since he joined the Port Authority in 2009.
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“Ship arrivals at our container facilities were up a strong 22 percent for the month, regaining what was lost in February due to the short month and fog-related impacts,” he said. “Steel also had an excellent month in March, with tonnage up 112 percent or 192,000 tons to a monthly total of 363,000 tons.”
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous, except that Longoria and Lanier recused themselves from voting on renewal of pipeline licenses.