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Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves
by Jim Guidry
Monday, November 21, 2011

The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today voted to enter into a non-binding letter of intent with the City of Galveston concerning the Downtown Intermodal Transit Terminal; and to instruct port staff to initiate discussions with Mitchell Historic Properties concerning the possible acquisition of the parking lot at the northwest corner of 25th Street and Strand.  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

The vote on the motion by Eddie Walsh followed an executive session of the wharves board that included Galveston City Council Member Dianna Puccetti, who represents the city council on the wharves board.  Puccetti joined in the unanimous vote on the motion.

Galveston Interim City Manager Tom Muehlenbeck was in the audience during the vote, but he declined to comment afterward.

On a motion by John Tindel, the wharves board voted unanimously to grant onetime $1,000 salary supplements for all full time port employees, except Port Director Steve Cernak, “to compensate the employees for the extra work that is required at the port as the port prepares for and begins the winter cruise season”; and in the same motion stated that Cernak will be entitled to earn a $25,000 incentive, “based on the following objective for the year 2011: retaining and/or expanding the customer base at the Port of Galveston, management of operating expenses at the Port of Galveston consistent with the directions of the board of trustees in maintaining and working to increase the operating revenues of the Port of Galveston”.  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

The wharves board voted to award a contract for insurance broker of record services for property and casualty insurance programs with Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. for an annual fee not to exceed $60,000, in lieu of commission.

An item related to a proposed utility easement with CenterPoint Energy for access across Wharf Road south of the Pier 36 slip was withdrawn from the agenda and was not considered for action by the wharves board.

All other agenda items were approved.  All votes were unanimous, except that Tindel abstained on two items relating to financial statements.

In his report to the board, Cernak said that the port’s revenue during October was $1,432,839, which was $306,868 below budget.   Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

“The predominant variance has to do with lower grain throughput and the reduction of supplemental rent accrual from Gulf Copper,” Cernak said.  “Our operating expenses were essentially on budget.”

John Helsley, with Texas Mexico Pacific, updated the wharves board on the project to expand rail service to Pelican Island.  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

Charlotte and Ted O’Rourke appeared before the wharves board to discuss issues related to cruise ship parking.

“You do not have a comprehensive plan to address parking,” complained Charlotte O’Rourke, a former member of the wharves board.  “And on the agenda today you are talking about doing other things with parking without having the information to make informed, intelligent decisions.”
MP3  RealPlayer

ILA Local 20 President Ted O’Rourke, who recently announced that he is not seeking reelection to the union job, announced that he is forming a new group called Clean Up the Port of Galveston. Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

“I know sometimes I might seem, as Mr. Walsh said, intense,” O’Rourke stated.  “But I haven’t even started to get intense yet.”

Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

Guidry News Service is headquartered in Midtown Houston.
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