While a discussion over finances got a bit heated Thursday, the V.I. Port Authority Board was still able to move quickly in electing new officers and getting through an executive session before losing its quorum.
Board member Claude Walker expressed particular concern Thursday over the port’s November financials, saying they “don’t make sense.” After VIPA Chief Executive Officer Donna Frett-Gregory said the numbers are not “straightforward,” the focus remained on the authority’s accounts receivables and tenants such as Seaborne Airlines, which board members said is in the process of renovating its St. Croix terminal and should make moves to “pay up” what it owes.
Board chair Roberto Cintron said the board’s next finance committee meeting is coming up and much of the issues raised Thursday “could be hashed out then.”
Moving on, the board voted quickly on officers: Cintron will remain chair, while Laurel Hewitt-Sewer from St. John will take over as vice chair. Board member Jose A. Penn will be secretary.
In other action, the board:
– Approved a task order with marine consultant CDR Maguire for $195,950 to prepare design and construction documents for the repair of the Wilfred “Bomba” Allick Container Port and Transshipment Center, which was built in the 1970’s. The repairs will be paid for with bond proceeds and is included in VIPA’s 2016 budget.
– Approved a one-year extension to a basic service agreement with CDR Maguire to continue to provide engineering consulting services. According to board members, no cost is associated with the extension since the contract is project based.
– Amended its 2016 budget to allow for a supplemental agreement to an already approved contract between VIPA and URS Caribe for improvements to rental agencies’ offices at Cyril E. King Airport. The improvements originally cost $134,642 but has been increased to $237,702 to include modifications recommended by car rental companies, including lighting at the baggage claim, extra air conditioning and the addition of a custodian lounge.
The board tabled a discussion on a $2.50 water-tour operator fee.
Coming out of executive session, board members said that they had authorized VIPA staff to work out an outstanding bill with Automated Solutions Enterprises, or to stop work if necessary, until they can better understand what services the company actually provides for the port. VIPA staff was also tasked with speaking to Bureau of Information Technology officials for help in dealing with the matter.
The board also approved hiring a procurement and contracting manager, and revised personnel rules and regulations to allow for managerial positions to be advertised in local newspapers.
Other personnel matters were also discussed, board members said.
Attending Thursday’s meeting on St. Thomas were board members: Cintron, Hewitt-Sewer, Gustav James, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Penn, Yvonne Thraen and Walker.