PA Council to mull hiring interim finance director

Published 4:18 pm Monday, July 20, 2015

Little more than a week after Deborah Echols resigned from her position as Port Arthur finance director, the city is poised to hire an interim director.
At their regular meeting Tuesday, City Council will consider entering into a contract with Strategic Government Resources to hire Jerry W. Dale, a retired finance director for the city of McAllen.
City Council is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, Fourth Floor, for its regular meeting.
SGR is the same search firm that brought City Manager Bryan McDougal to the Port Arthur about seven months ago.
The contract with SGR states that Dale will be paid an annual salary and benefits totaling of $148,571. Any hours exceeding a 40-hour week will be billed at $71.43 per hour. Dale is expected to not work more than a 40-hour week unless he has the city’s approval.
The city is also obligated to provide hotel accommodations during the work week and a weekly mileage reimbursement for the 227 miles from Dale’s home to Port Arthur.
McDougal last week said he planned to bring someone on board quickly so that person will be in place to help with the new fiscal year budget making process.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, City Council will consider entering into an agreement with Swagit Productions LLC, of Plano. The company will provide On-demand streaming video of Council meetings for an amount not to exceed $54,000.
The company will also provide hands free recording and indexing services of on-demand viewing of recordings for an amount not to exceed $11,940.
Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince said the live-streaming process will provide an opportunity to watch City Council meetings as they occur, without attending the meeting.
“As long as a person has access to a computer, they can watch the meetings from wherever they are, whether they are at home, out of town, or even overseas,” Prince said.
Position 7 Council member Derrick Freeman said he would be glad to see the new live-streaming implementing because the technology will not only provide accessibility to citizens, but also transparency.
“There have been some complaints about meeting recordings in the past, so I am happy the city manager has pushed this,” Freeman said.
Funding for the new process has already been appropriated.
Among other agenda items City Council will consider are:
• A lease agreement between the city and the Port Arthur Yacht Club;
• Donation of 0.4114 acre tract of land at 1200 Lakeshore Drive to Lamar State College Port Arthur;
• Authorzing the city of Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation to prepare a request for proposals for the design and development of a new Website;
• Authorize the EDC to advertise its Marketing Campaign Billboard, “Build It, Ship It, and Rail It,” in the Louisiana market.
• A public hearing is scheduled at 6 p.m. to consider creating a two reinvestment zones, one for the downtown/Port of Port Arthur area, and the other for the downtown/Lamar State College area.

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