PA Industrial Committee now set

Published 5:36 pm Friday, February 17, 2017

After a lengthy discussion, the basic make up of one Port Arthur city committee will remain unchanged.

The issue came up at the regular meeting of the Port Arthur City Council on Tuesday whether the city council should add committee members to the industrial District Contract Compliance Committee. Ultimately the city council decided not to add more members from the city council to the district council, because more city council members would have established a quorum, meaning that routine, fact-finding meetings would become public meetings.

Mayor Derrick Freeman said his understanding was the committee was to consist of an executive committee and a working committee that would meet once a month.

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The executive committee would meet with plant managers while the working committee would meet with procurement and human resources staff from plants and refineries.

Mayor Pro Tem Raymond Scott Jr. said his understanding was it is one committee consisting of the current members: the city attorney, the city manager and his designees on staff, Mayor Pro Tem and the mayor and two city councilmen: District 3 Councilman Morris Albright III and District 6 Councilman Osman Swati.

Charlotte Moses, At-Large Position 7 councilwoman, said since this was passed by a prior city council, the present city council ought to be open to do what they want and not have the committee limited to three persons.

Scott said if four or more are present at the committee meeting, it will need to be posted to the public like a city council meeting would be.

Keith Richard, District 4 councilman, said his district has many plants in it and he would like to participate on the committee.

Albright III said if more people are added to the committee the public and the press would have to be invited.

Swati said he didn’t want to discourage anyone from serving, but he also didn’t want a requirement to have quorum.

“These are difficult issues and we don’t need the public’s input,” Swati said. “I’ll pull myself off of the committee if Councilwoman Moses wants on it.”

Kaprina Frank, At-Large Position 8 councilwoman, said it would be a disservice to the city if Swati pulled out now.

Moses said she would yield to being placed on the committee. She thought there would be a second committee.

“I want to do what’s best for the city,” she said.

Freeman said the committee could add alternates.

City Attorney Val Tizeno said the alternates could be added, but they can’t have a council meeting.

Richard said Port Arthur residents need jobs and refineries need to comply.

Willie “Bae” Lewis Jr., District 5 councilman, recommended posting the committee meeting time and place because 90 percent of the time there will be three people who report for the meeting.

In conclusion, it was decided to keep the three on the committee: Scott, Swati and Albright, with the addition of alternates Moses, Richard and Lewis.

David Ball: 409-721-2427