The regularly scheduled meeting of the Port Authority drew a capacity crowd, because listed on the agenda was consideration of and possible action regarding the employment of the chief executive officer Alec Dreyer.
The matter was tabled at the request of Commissioner Janiece Longoria. She wanted investigations by the district attorney and county attorney to be completed without any major disruption of Port business.
"In representing the really important political stakeholders in this region, which includes the mayor, city council, the county judge, commissioner's court, all of the citizens of this region, the employees, industry leaders — we need to get back to work."
Dreyer's status drew the support of several people, including Clyde Fitzgerald of the International Longshoreman's Association.
"There's been a lot said here this morning about the pending investigation, and we also would like to see it over with quickly. And I want to say to you Mr. chairman and commissioners, y'all have done a great job representing this port over the years. Because of the action you've taken, we've become one of the major container operators in the country."
Last week, Port Chairman Jim Edmonds and Dreyer asked DA Pat Lykos to investigate whether any of their activities had violated of state laws. That request came after County Commissioner Jack Morman asked the county attorney to ensure that the port was in compliance with things like financial reporting, open records and conflict of interest.
This is Port Chairman Edmonds:
"Everything here is open to be looked at and we welcome the opportunity to be an open book, because we want to make sure that corrections are made, and that the appropriate policies and procedures are put in place, and whatever that event may have been will not occur again."
The Port Authority also hired defense attorney Rusty Hardin to help the district attorney and county attorney in their investigation. It centers on Dreyer's use of the Authority's tour vessel for a private function, and Edmonds' relationship
with a company that does business with the port.
Commissioner Elyse Lanier says questions need to be answered.
"The whole point of this is to make the port a better place. The port is our most important economic engine, and what we want to do is make it even a better place. We want people to feel good about the taxpayer money. That's the most important thing."
Dreyer was an energy executive before he come to the Port Authority.