Pleasure Island board a no show?

Published 3:34 pm Saturday, July 8, 2017

Readers may remember back in May of 2013 when The Port Arthur City Council made a charter change to take managing control over Pleasure Island. City Councilman John Beard Jr., at the time, argued that the Pleasure Island Commission was out of money and could not manage or fund itself on its own.
It has been argued that the Pleasure Island Commission had hundreds of thousands in a reserve account at the time. Unfortunately there was no support on council for the PIC, so the city ultimately took over management of the island and formed the Pleasure Island Advisory Board via the city council.
The Pleasure Island Advisory Board is supposed to consist of nine members, each appointed by one of the Port Arthur City Council members as their direct representative to the board.
The board is expected to meet at 5:30 pm on the third Tuesday of each month in the fifth floor meeting room at City Hall in Port Arthur.
This would be well and good if meetings were to actually happen. We are finding through agendas and minutes posted on, that a meeting by the Pleasure Island Advisory Board has not taken place since Jan. 11 of 2016, due to a lack of quorum.
For readers who may not understand how a quorum works, it is the number (such as a majority) of officers or members of a body that, when duly assembled, is legally competent to transact business. Meaning, it’s the required number of members of the board present to conduct meeting items on their agenda.
Below is a list of Port Arthur City Council members, past and present, their appointees, and attendance on the Pleasure Island Advisory Board between January 2015 and present:
District 1 Councilman Raymond Scott’s appointee was Darrell Anderson who had been to six of the last 30 PIC Board meetings. He was recently replaced by Reginald Trainer, who made his first meeting in June after being sworn in.
District 2 former Councilwoman Tiffany Hamilton’s appointee was Ranyell Barrier who had been to two of the last 30 PIC Board meetings. Current Councilman Cal Jones recently appointed Dan Katz to this position. Katz was recently sworn in and will be available to attend the next Board Meeting in July.
District 3 former Councilman Morris Albright did not appoint a representative for this District. Current Councilman Thomas Kinlaw has appointed Michelle Lockwood – Snodgrass; she has yet to be sworn in.
District 4 Councilman Harold Doucet recently confirmed re-appointment of John Beard Jr. who was originally appointed by Stephen Mosley after coming off city council and successfully transferring Pleasure Island powers to city council. He was re-appointed by Keith Richard as well. Appointee Beard has been to four of the last 30 meetings.
District 5 Councilman, Willie “Bae” Lewis appointee is Jimmy Whitley who is also acting chairman of the IC Advisory Board. Whitley has been to 30 of the last 30 meetings.
District 6 Councilman Osman Swati appointee is Ricky Reese who has been to 29 of the last 30 meetings.
Position 7 Councilwoman Charlotte Moses appointee is Evette Rogers and has been to three of the last 30 meetings.
Position 8 Councilwoman Kaprina Frank appointee is Anthony Cooper and has been to three of the last 30 meetings.
Former Mayor, Deloris Prince appointee was Michelle Dorsey and re-appointed by current Mayor Derrick Freeman. Dorsey has been to 7 of the last 30 meetings.
When council took over the day-to-day decision making of Pleasure Island in May of 2013, they also took the responsibility to ensure that Advisory Board appointees under their district actually do their designated job and attend the meetings for which they were appointed.
Duties of this board, as shared on page are, “The Pleasure Island Advisory Board is charged with fully managing, controlling, maintaining, operating and developing those lands owned by the City of Port Arthur in and under Sabine Lake and those lands owned by the City of Port Arthur and commonly known as Pleasure Island.”
However, this is apparently incorrect. In December 2014, a year and a half after the change in responsibility, a story published in The Port Arthur News reflects confusion as to who should do what. It was clear that the PIC Advisory Board and Port Arthur City Council were both confused as to the responsibility of the PIC Advisory Board.
Councilman Morris Albright of District 3, at that time, stated “The Charter change of May 2013 transformed the Pleasure Island Commission, which originally acted as an Economic Development Corp with it’s own checkbook and voting authority, into the Pleasure Island Advisory Board – a subcomponent of the city, subject to the city manager’s discretion.” Albright instructed the members of the advisory board present they no longer had such authority. He further stated, “The Island Commission no longer has a checkbook.” Without a checkbook, there’s certain decisions you can’t make. “I’m not trying to be rude or mean”, he said, “but you’re not going to be voting on paying bills or whose yards are getting cut.”
Meaning the Pleasure Island Advisory Board that is charged with fully managing, controlling, maintaining, operating and developing those lands owned by the City of Port Arthur, as stated on their website, is actually false. This board has zero power to do anything except discuss and request items.
The problem that has been created is simple.
When a larger entity creates an advisory board with minimal supervision, and zero responsibility, a needless board is born. And when appointees realize they are obsolete, they stop showing up.
We applaud both Jimmy Whitley and Ricky Reese for fulfilling their requested responsibilities by attending nearly all of the scheduled PIC board meetings over the past two and a half years. It is difficult to bring yourself to do so when others keep the entity from having a quorum due to lack of attendance month after month. What it does show is, who the responsible members of this board truly are.
So where do we go from here? Either it needs to be conceded that this decision to move the PIC under city operation was a poor decision and was not made in the best interest of Pleasure Island and should be reversed to allow the PIC to run as it once did, or our current city council needs to become responsible for decisions made by prior councils and make this work better than it has since 2013.
Whichever the decision, it has to be better than what is happening now, which is ultimately nothing.

Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News. Contact him at

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