Accardo gets port’s top job

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 16, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / February 16, 2000

LAPLACE – LaPlace attorney and former state representative Joseph Accardo Jr. was selected Tuesday morning as the new executive director forthe Port of South Louisiana.

He was granted a two-year contract and a salary of $110,000 per year as he moved up from being Director of Governmental Affairs for the port.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve, and I promise 110 per cent effort,” Accardo told port commissioners after the 5-1 vote of approval.

St. John Parish commissioner Brent Tregre voted against the action, andreminded President Louis Joseph the reason for delaying selection in December was to allow all the new commissioners to take office. There yetremains selection of two commissioners in St. James Parish and Tregre’sown replacement in St. John Parish.”Is there any emergency?” Tregre asked.

“The new commission is here,” St. Charles Parish commissioner Joey Murraysaid.

Joseph urged prompt action and said there are many issues at hand which need a full-time director’s guidance. Since the departure of Gary LaGrangelast summer, assistant director Don Hays has filled the position.

Joseph said of Accardo, “He knows enough about the port to keep us going forward. He should do a good job.””He’s been here for awhile, and he’s familiar with the internal structure,” at- large commissioner E.J. Martin said, adding, “We’ve all got to learn.”A native of Hester in St. James Parish, Accardo earned his law degree in1965 and practiced law until March 1997 as a partner in Accardo, Edrington and Golden.

He was also a state representative for the area from 1972 through 1996, when he chose not to run for re-election and was succeeded by Bobby Faucheux.

Accardo became general counsel and Director of Governmental Affairs for the port in 1997 after having served as legal counsel for the port since 1990.

Other finalists for the job included: Allen J. Dupont of Destrehan, a civil engineer and present vice-president ofoperations for C.F. Bean Corp. Michael J. Mierzwa of Friendswood, Texas, presently of the Port ofBeaumont and a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. Roger P. Richard of Baton Rouge, former international banker and presentexecutive director of the Port of Baton Rouge since March 1998.

Thomas E. Simmons of Gulfport, Miss., present consultant for the Port ofGulfport (where past director LaGrange is now executive director).

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