New ordinance separates Administration from PortJul 24th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: top story
Business for the Plaquemines Parish Port, Harbor and Terminal District will no longer be handled by the Administration, according to a new ordinance passed during the July 12 council meeting.
“For the last 30 years, there has been a conflict of authority between the Council and Administration (over the Port); State law says the Port is to be a separate entity from the government and this legislation accomplishes that separation,” said Port Chairman Anthony Buras, who co-authored the legislation with Port Director John Pennison. “Our Port needs to run like other ports on the Mississippi River.”
Buras mentioned that the clear definition of authority will help the Plaquemines Parish Port operate in a more business-like fashion. That definition is authority is accomplished by having the Port handle its bookkeeping and finances, in-house.
“With the passage of the ordinance any doubt as to the governing authority has been removed through the severing of administrative and business functions performed by the Parish for the Port,” explained Pennison.
Going forward, all business of the Port will be handled by Port personnel, whereas in the past, operations like accounting and payroll were handled by the Administration on behalf of the Port.
According to Pennison, payment by the Port for these services in 2011 totaled $360,850.
Prior to the passage of the ordinance all revenue generated by the Port was deposited into the Port’s checking account and all port expenditures are accounted for by the Parish. The Port then received an invoice from the Parish for those expenditures.
“The Port generates a check drawn on the Port account payable to the Plaquemines Parish General Fund which must then be signed by the Administration, even though ‘drawn on funds’ are supposedly under Port control,” Pennison explained. “This will be eliminated as the Port will handle funds & business functions internally.”
Pennison said that according to the Charter, the Parish President has no veto power over any Port legislation, but before the passage of the new ordinance, any Port business could have been vetoed by an Administrative decision not to sign a check.
Port employees will remain under Parish service, but the Appointing Authority for Port employees will no longer be the Parish President. Instead, the Port Chairman will have that control.