Port’s power shift begins

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / February 11, 2000

LAPLACE – Slowly but surely, a new regime is assuming power at the Port of South Louisiana.

On Wednesday, interim officers were elected.

St. Charles Parish commissioner Joey Murray said, in answering doubtsexpressed by St. John Parish commissioner Brent Tregre, that the newly-elected officers were interim while one new St. John Parish and two new St.James Parish appointments remain to be made.

“We need to get our house in order tonight,” Murray replied.

Murray opened by nominating St. John Parish commissioner Louis Joseph aspresident, a move seconded by St. Charles Parish commissioner Jay Roberts.Roberts then nominated Murray as executive vice-president, and that motion was seconded by at-large commissioner E.J. Martin.Tregre then expressed his doubts and added he felt badly about the way the election was progressing.

Murray then nominated Roberts as treasurer, a move seconded by Martin.

Murray then nominated Martin as secretary, and that was seconded by Roberts. All were unanimously approved.Three commissioners remain to be appointed to replace Tregre, Honora Gravois and Cart Davis. Gravois’ replacement is to be named by Gov. Foster;the other two are parish president appointees. Should neither parishappointments be made by March 10 Foster would be empowered to name appointees.

Following the election of officers the tone of the meeting quickly shifted, with five items on the agenda being change orders in Globalplex projects and another a proposal to move five Entergy utility poles.

Roberts, owner of Water and Sewer Products of Bridge City, immediately questioned each change order closely with Jade Rung of River Consulting Co.,the projects’ manager and consultant.

The change orders included: – To add $21,185 to a $38,794 contract for repairs to the Harbor Services barge. This was unanimously approved.- To add $12,500 to add a manhole access to electrical feed for the new dock. This was approved in a 5-2 vote, with Roberts and Martin votingagainst it.

– To add $38,000 to add 16 motor covers to new gantries at the dock. Thiswas tabled to seek more prices.

– To add $41,500 to replace the old Godchaux Sugars waterlines and hookups to the parish water system. This was tabled to seek more prices.- To add $112,000 for the purchase of two 60-ton crane blocks, two 150- ton blocks, two detachable jibs and $15,000 for labor cost. In addition, theport could return two 30-ton blocks for a $9,500 credit. This was approvedunanimously.

Also, Roberts questioned paying Entergy $35,000 to move five utility poles.

Rung cautioned that the poles belong to Entergy and the port could fall under liability should there be an outage caused by someone else moving them.

This was approved, contingent upon seeking other prices, as suggested by director Don Hays.

The commission also approved the purchase of a new site for the Harbor Services’ office and tie-up barge for its emergency boats, just upriver from the Reserve ferry landing, at a cost of $110,000, pending necessary permits.

In his regular report, Hays said 1999 total tonnage was up from 1998, 218 million tons to 246 million tons, an increase of 13.2 percent. Grain was 54percent of the export total.

The next meeting of the port commission was set for March 8.

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