One has to wonder just how long the Board members of the Jacksonville Port Authority can continue to express confidence in the ability of Rick Ferrin to lead the independent agency. The Port continues to be beleaugered with bad news.
First, it was the removal of Tony Nelson and the FBI investigation (which apparently is continuing). Then, there was the signing of Hanjin and Mitsui to bring in post-Panamax ships even though the river is not deep enough to accomodate the ships and the port currently does not have approval to deepen the channel. Then there were the no-bid contracts for dredging. After that, the Mayport Cruise Terminal fiasco, where the port is now the subject of a Sunshine law lawsuit for the manner in which it acquired the land for the cruise terminal.
Now, two of the Port’s head engineers recently left – with the Port quietly claiming no comment. As it turns out, those engineers disregarded a consulting firm’s recommendations on one project and essentially falsified documents in another situation. (Read more about the Port Authority’s engineering department problems in today’s TU here.)
Perhaps it’s time to seek a new leader for Jaxport – one who exercises more control over his subordinates and has a better handle on its day-to-day operations. Perhaps it’s also time for the Charter Review Commission to consider shortening the leash on this independent agency during its upcoming deliberations.