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DARLAN BRIN TO STEP DOWN FROM VIPA POST

Aug. 24, 2003 — V.I. Port Authority executive director Darlan Brin will be stepping down from his post at the end of the year.
Brin revealed his plans this week, but declined to elaborate on his reason for leaving or his plans for the future. With a smile, and holding out his hands, he said, "I can work." Those hands have been used for many engineering and planning projects over his 20-year career at the authority.
And they have pitched his Hurricanes baseball team to many wins. Brin gained national attention last year when his Fifty-Plus Hurricanes baseball team won a league championship.
Though Brin didn't reveal any details of his move, he said, "I will make an announcement at the appropriate time."
The VIPA board unanimously named Brin executive director at a December 2002 board meeting, to take over the first of the year following Gordon Finch's retirement. Brin has had his hands full of situations from the moment he took over the post, not the least of which was VIPA's financial status. The authority's financial statement for Aug. 31 showed a $5.3 million deficit. The plan had been to raise the airport fees charged to airlines. However, after vehement objections from the airlines, the board decided to delay any increase for six months.
A highly publicized brouhaha ensued in late January when the authority did increase the passenger and landing fees by 25 percent, invoking the ire of all airlines and many civic groups. VIPA rolled back those fees last week, after its board voted to liquidate a $6.1 million bond debt. The bond note has been costing VIPA $2.2 million a year in principal and interest. (See "VIPA rescinds landing, passenger fee increases.")
Brin has had several projects come to fruition under his watch; it's hard to say whether the Enighed Pond commercial port on St. John or the Crown Bay project on St. Thomas would take precedence if the authority had a trophy counter. Both projects have been on the books for decades, fraught with legal, environmental and funding problems.
Both Finch and Brin have played key roles in bringing the projects to reality. For Finch, an engineer, the Crown Bay development was probably the highest-profile project on his desk for three years. Brin worked with Finch intensively both on the Crown Bay project and on the Enighed Pond port project.
Both projects are scheduled for completion next year — Enighed Pond in June and Crown Bay in July.
Official groundbreaking for the Enighed Pond facility — three decades in the making — took place on June 13, with the Crown Bay ceremony six days later. Work on Enighed Pond has been under way since April. Speaker after speaker at the ceremony heaped praise on Brin, who as the Port Authority's chief planner doggedly pushed the project forward in recent years despite numerous snags. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and others also lauded both Brin and Finch at the Crown Bay ceremony.
Ironically, neither Brin nor Finch turned up at either ceremony. However, over the course of their careers, both men have shown themselves to be no-nonsense managers with no apparent desire for the limelight.
Still in the works and moving closer to completion with $3.3 million in funding from federal GARVEE, or Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles, is the Red Hook passenger and cargo facility.
In July, the VIPA board voted unanimously to grant the Public Finance Authority permission to proceed with the Frederiksted Economic Revitalization Project.
Still a major source of concern is the Anguilla landfill on St. Croix, which was to have been closed last December at the order of the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA appears finally to be making made good on threats to cut the Port Authority's federal funding over problems at the Anguilla landfill — and VIPA could be forced to pay back millions of dollars already received, as well as lose future grants for both the St. Croix and St. Thomas airports. (See "Anguilla inaction may cost airports millions.")
Although Brin has been instrumental in almost all of VIPA's major projects over the years, he was equally involved in one that was minor in terms of capital outlay but major in providing a safe and fun environment for youngsters: the Lindbergh Bay playground and its colorful water park.
After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in business and economics and another master's in city planning, Brin worked at the then-V. I. Planning Office, where he was assistant director of planning from 1973 to 1979. He was commissioner of the Conservation and Cultural Affairs Department (now Planning and Natural Resources) from 1979 to 1982 before joining the Port Authority.

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