Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation names members to committees, empty seat remains

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, August 9, 2023

A vacancy remains on the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors this week as current and new members were recently named to positions and appointed to committees.

City Councilman Thomas Kinlaw III named Ingrid Holmes to the PAEDC board last week, thus replacing Richard Wycoff.

Holmes was not able to attend Monday’s board meeting, according to officials with the PAEDC.

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Melvin Getwood was named treasurer of the board.

The PAEDC has several committees, and board members were named to those committees: Budget, Finance and Audit Committee includes Melvin Getwood, Ingrid Holmes and Kaala Jacobs, while the Marketing and Communications Committee consists of Darrel Anderson, Jody Holton and Kaala Jacobs.

Last month, City Councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis appointed Floyd Batiste, the former director of the PAEDC, to the PAEDC board of directors but a resolution to place him on the board failed.

Batiste resigned his position as head of the PAEDC in 2021 and earlier that year a PAEDC staff member filed a grievance against Batiste citing hostile work environment and racial slurs.

The PAEDC employee sued the city, and council approved offering a settlement in the lawsuit in the amount of $120,000 in return for the dismissal of the lawsuit, resignation of the employee and a waiver of claims arising during her employment.

On Tuesday, City Manager Ron Burton said he had spoke with the city attorney the previous day, adding the case is still in negotiation.

During a special city council meeting Aug. 1, council was divided on the appointment of Batiste to the PAEDC board.

Council approved authorizing the city attorney, Val Tizeno, to send a request to the Attorney General for the interpretation of EDC statute, bylaws and related statutes.

Tizeno explained that council authorizes her to request an Attorney General opinion on the statutes but, since she doesn’t have authority to make the request, will make the request through State Rep. Christian Manuel.