PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

June 19, 2007

Port Arthur to conduct elections solo

Jefferson County will no longer conduct future joint elections with cities within the county.

A recent letter written by Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry addressed to the Port Arthur City Council announced the county will lease voting equipment from now on to cities to conduct their own elections. The leasing fees will be set by the county commissioners court. Guidry added the joint elections were too much of a burden for her office.

“The way the county messed up the last election so bad, they should’ve let us do it. It’s kind of like a blessing,” Mayor Oscar Ortiz said.

The county received a number of complaints about the May 12 election from voters citing problems varying from electronic voting machine errors to improper conduct by election judges. The complaints even prompted a workshop last week by county commissioners.

Councilmember Tom Henderson said he would like for the city to investigate leasing voting machines directly from the manufacturing companies rather than the county.

In another item of business before the council, Desselle-Maggard Corporation (DMC) of Baton Rouge and Orange announced plans to build a 65,000-square-foot building at the Port Arthur Business Park on FM 365. President Joey Jobe said the facility may possibly increase to 100,000-square-feet and will build high-end, high tech components for local industries. Plans to build will begin late summer.

In addition to the structure, the company plans to become a technology training center for mechanical, process operations and more. Jobe has contacted the Port Arthur ISD and Lamar University to develop a vo-tech program as a “bridge” from high school to industry. Current employees and DMC customers could make use of the center too. Motiva, Valero and Total have shown some interest in the programs as well.

“This is a new thing for the company. It’s unique. We’ve developed some different initiatives and something to give back,” Jobe said. “We’re interested in long-term career oriented jobs. We’re getting participation (from local industries) — some have gone out of their way to work with us, some have not yet, but it’s early in the process.”

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