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Interim finance director to stay in Port Arthur a while longer

Jerry Dale, interim finance director for the city of Port Arthur, will stay on the job a little bit longer.

The Port Arthur City Council approved renewing the independent professional services between the city of Port Arthur and Jerry Dale to provide temporary contract services for the finance department.

Raymond Scott Jr., mayor pro tem, said Dale was doing a good job, but he wants a permanent person in that position. He told City Manager Brian McDougal temporary workers currently staff the department and he wanted to know what structure was in place for finding permanent staff and the direction they will go.

“We need the information. We need to know how long Jerry will be here,” Scott said. “I would just like to table this. The contract has not ended yet? Correct?”

McDougal said his current contract expired on January 2017 and has been renewed until November 2018. Dale started in July 2015 after he was hired from a consultant firm search.

The city is in the process of hiring an assistant finance director and are currently seeking applications. He added that he would like to continue the relationship with Dale.

Scott said Dale hasn’t done anything to be dismissed or that he’s unhappy about his work that he wants to replace him, but he wanted to know how close the department was in hiring fulltime replacements.

Willie “Bae” Lewis Jr., District 5 councilman, said Dale needs to stick around long enough to get the assistant director up to speed so there will be a smooth transition.

“We have unique situations here and we need specialized attention,” he said. “Jerry Dale has been an asset to the city.”

Charlotte Moses, Position 7 councilwoman, asked if Dale’s contract has already been approved. McDougal answered yes.

Osman Swati, Position 6 councilman, said he didn’t understand how hiring new departmental people related to Dale’s contract since it has already been approved.

Scott said the city needs a permanent department with a permanent director with a permanent staff.

Kaprina Frank, Position 8 councilwoman, said she agreed with Swati, but also to hold McDougal accountable with a game plan while approving Dale’s contract.

“It’s already in the budget,” she said.

Swati said McDougal can supply the council with a game plan.

Keith Richard, District 4 councilman, asked Scott if he still wanted to table the item or move forward. Scott said he wanted to go forward with the contract.

David Ball: 409-721-2427