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Port sinks funds into investments

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 26, 1998

LAPLACE – The South Louisiana Port Commission agreed to steer $800,000 into a new investment scheme during a special meeting Thursday.

Voting 6-0, the commissioners agreed to invest the cash from the money market fund into the 5-year-old Louisiana Asset Management Pool (LAMP).

LAMP was created in 1993 to assist local Louisiana governmental entities with the investment of their cash balances.

LAMP has received a triple-A rating from Standard and Poor’s, the highest rating possible.

Port finance director Cindy Martin noted the interest rate, 5.57 percentthis week, offers a half-percent higher return on investments than the current investment placing.

“We’ll try it for six months,” Martin said, adding she had been observing the progress of LAMP in the marketplace since its inception. She saidanother reason for the selection of LAMP was its extreme liquidity, allowing the port to pull out painlessly.

In other activity, the Commission voted to hire Don Weber, formerly of St.

John Stevedoring, as a trade development specialist.

Weber’s duties, which began Wednesday, include bringing new business to the port’s general cargo dock. For this he will be paid $45,000, plus 20percent of profits from the cargo using the dock, with a cap of $100,000.

He was hired on a one-year basis, and the contract can be renegotiated or terminated after the year.

The commission also approved the annual audit and commended finance director Cindy Martin and her staff for their work.

A resolutions was also approved to ask for an Attorney General’s opinion on a law affecting only the Port of South Louisiana. The law, put in duringthe mid-1980s, mandates that no unclassified employee can earn more than 75 percent of the executive director’s salary.

Also, a resolution was approved to mandate that if an unclassified employee becomes permanently disabled he would continue to receive 70 percent of his salary for life, the amount to remain linked with that position’s salary, even if it changes.

A 20-minute executive session was also held with Baton Rouge attorney Steven Irving to update the commission regarding the Bay Star audit investigation.

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