The Port of Houston Authority Commission in a special meeting today voted unanimously to approve a voluntary early retirement program for eligible full-time salaried port authority employees at least 55 years of age or older and with 15 years of service before January 1, 2013. Listen News Release
“Since my arrival and my permanent assignment as executive director in April, I’ve been looking at the business processes, the costs and revenues of the port,” said PHA Executive Director Colonel Leonard Waterworth. “In efforts to find efficiencies and effectiveness and efficient use of taxpayer dollars, one of the things that I’ve noticed is the overhead costs which, we refer to as GNA, has increased by over 24 percent going back to 2009.”
Waterworth said a large portion of the GNA costs is attributable to salaries of PHA management in the administration building. He said the early retirement program will save the port about $4 million a year at a cost of about $800,000 per year. Fifty-one PHA employees are eligible for the program.
The commission voted unanimously to award a contract for trash disposal and recycling services at the Turning Basin Terminal, Woodhouse Terminal, Barbours Cut Terminal, Bayport Terminal and the Fire Barracks in an amount not to exceed $3,589,476 to Global Waste Services rather than BFI Waste Services of Texas LP, which was the recommendation of port staff.
Commissioner Elyse Lanier made the motion to award the contract to Global.
“I want to go with the low bid,” she said, noting that BFI was the highest of the companies ranked by staff.
Waterworth explained that his recommendation was based on a review of criteria that included capability.
“The three selectees are just two points apart,” Waterworth said. “It’s quite clear that the number one selectee can execute that mission and has significant capability to execute that particular operation and there would be very little doubt that they would be able to make that happen.”
Commissioner Jim Fonteno said he was reluctant to go against the staff recommendation, but did not understand why the award should not go to the low bidder.
“We’re not building the space shuttle here,” Fonteno said. “We’re picking up trash.”
“Does staff feel comfortable going with the low bid?” asked Commissioner Jimmy Burks.
“Yes,” Waterworth answered. Thus, the commission voted unanimously to award the contract to Global.
The commission also met in executive session to discuss real property issues related to the Bayport Cruise Terminal and for deliberation regarding port authority staff organization.
There were no other items on the brief agenda. Commissioners Janeice Longoria and Kase Lawal were absent.