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Port of Houston Authority Commission
by JIm Guidry
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Port of Houston Authority Chair Jim Edmonds announced at the beginning of today’s PHA Commission meeting that Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos has exonerated CEO Alec Dreyer of any wrongdoing regarding use of the MV Sam Houston for a special tour in April; and he also announced that Dreyer has notified the commission that he is not seeking reappointment to his post.
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Dreyer told Guidry News Service that he had expected the exoneration and he is considering options for his future.
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“Well, I knew I never did anything wrong,” Dreyer said.  “It feels good to have someone like the Harris County district attorney to come out and vindicate me fully and completely.”

In his report to the commission on selected financial results and operational issues, Dreyer said the port is having a strong year. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

“Alec, I’d like to thank you for what’s happened this year,” Edmonds said.  “You’ve done a great job.  You’ve exceeded all of our budget numbers.”

Edmonds said that he is pleased that Dreyer will remain on the job until a replacement is hired.  The commission will consider selection of a search firm at the January meeting.

The commission voted 4-2-1, with Elyse Lanier and Jim Fonteno opposed and Janeice Longoria abstaining, to approve an $87,500 subscription services agreement with the Greater Houston Partnership.  An earlier motion by Lanier, to reduce the amount to $40,000, failed by a 2-5 vote, with only Fonteno voting with Lanier.   Edmonds and Kase Lawal had abstained when the issue was discussed at the previous meeting because they, like Longoria are on the board of directors of the GHP; but both voted for the motion today.

“You can’t pick and choose when to abstain,” Lanier complained.  “If last month you abstained, you can’t decide one meeting to abstain and one meeting not to abstain.  If you’re a board member, you’re a board member; and if you’re not, you’re not.  I think that a bigger question at this point.”

The commission voted 6-1, with Lanier opposed, to fund the PHA’s irrevocable trust fund established for other post employment benefits liabilities in an aggregate amount not to exceed $8 million for the calendar year ending December 31, 2011.

The commission voted unanimously to use the design-bid-build option for the rehabilitation of Wharves 1 and 2 at the Barbours Cut Terminal, after hearing a comparison of that method with the design-build method by Senior Vice President James Jackson and James Dannenbaum of Dannenbaum Engineering. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

The commission voted unanimously to select A.D.Willis Company, Inc. to repair the roof at the upper level transit and rail shed at Jacintoport Terminal.

The commission voted unanimously to select Forde Construction Co., Inc. for the annual pavement replacement contract at Barbours Cut Terminal.

The commission voted to select Zarinkelk Engineering Services, Inc. for a computer aided drafting contract.

The commission voted 6-0-1, with Lanier recusing herself, to approve a three percent lease rate escalation for month-to-month leases at the port.

The commission agreed to defer action on the Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget until after a workshop in January, at the request of Commissioner Janiece Longoria.

The commission voted unanimously to defer, for one month, action on a contract with Global Waste Services LLC for trash disposal and recycling services for the Turning Basin Terminal, Woodhouse Terminal and Fireboat Barracks.   

The commission voted unanimously to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Houston Maritime Museum to locate the museum on port property at the Turning Basin. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

“It’s a great day,” said Niels Aalund, chair of the museum’s board.  “It’s a great win-win for the Port of Houston and the Houston Maritime Museum."

Chairs of the various port task forces gave reports to the full board.
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Representatives of several civic organizations appeared before the commission to thank the members for their support and to report on the past year’s activities, including B.J. Simon, associate executive director of the Baytown/West Chambers Economic Development Foundation; Coletta Castleschouldt, president and executive director of Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership; Craig Richard, chief economic development officer of the Greater Houston Partnership; Judson Robinson, president and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League; Frances Dyess, president of the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Charles Gant, president and CEO of the North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce;and Lorenza Phillips Butler, Jr., publisher of the Southern Chinese Daily News-Houston Daily News-Channel 55.5 News Scene. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

After an executive session the commission voted to approve an amendment regarding legal expenses related to the Port of Houston Authority v. Zachry Construction.  On another matter, the commission took no formal action, but gave direction to staff to move the Channel Development Department to the Engineering/Real Estate Division. 

In a separate meeting, the commissioners sitting as the Board of Pilot Commissioners voted unanimously to approve all items on a short agenda.

Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

Guidry News Service is headquartered in Midtown Houston.
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