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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Port of Houston Authority Audit Task Force
by Jim Guidry
Friday, October 21, 2011

The Port of Houston Authority Audit Task Force met with two representatives of the Harris County Auditor’s Office today to discuss audit services that the county can provide to the port.
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PHA President and CEO Alec Dreyer said that port staff has been meeting with the county auditor’s staff since early in 2010 “about the appropriateness and the need for some internal audit activities at the port,” before the county attorney conducted his review of the port at the request of Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman.

“This is discussions that have been ongoing for some period of time,” agreed Chief Assistant County Auditor Steve Garner.  “Although it is mentioned in the county attorney’s report, it is something that Ms. Schott has been intending to do for a long time.”

“It’s good practices, and it’s something that we need to move forward on,” said PHA Commissioner Jim Fonteno, who is chair of the Audit Task Force.

Garner said he has been examining the operations of other ports, such as the ports of Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans

However, PHA Chair Jim Edmonds cautioned, “If you’ve seen one port, you’ve seen one port,” explaining that port authorities differ greatly in their scope and operations.

After discussion the task force voted unanimously to direct staff to work with the Harris County Auditor’s Office to develop a charter and scope of work and a potential agreement to be considered by the task force at its next meeting.

The task force also discussed a proposed new misconduct reporting policy, also known as “whistleblower policy” that will be considered for action at the next task force meeting.




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