Leader of Top Container Shipping Company Top Choice
Canaveral Port Commissioners voted unanimously to begin negotiations with Tampa's John Murray to become the ports next chief executive officer, replacing the disgraced John Walsh, who was forced to resign late last year over controversial comments he made critical of community opponents to a proposed heavy cargo rail project that threatens the Indian and Banana River lagoons and North Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The Orlando Business Journal had good coverage of the meeting, pointing out that after selecting Murray and appointing CFO Rodger Rees as the interim director effective Jan. 21, Commissioner Hank Evans suggested that they kick Walsh loose immediately and move Rees into the position immediately. That was quickly shot down by Walsh apologists Deardoff, Allender and Weinberg who — oddly enough — led the charge to remove Walsh in the first place. You'll find Florida Today's perspective on the meeting here. You can also see the port's perspective here.
Kudo's to Florida Today's Editorial Board for awarding the CPA a "Thumbs Down" for conducting its CEO search under a cloak of secrecy.
Chairman Allender opined during the meeting that the community and local officials "sent the message loud and clear that the Port needed to be more open and transparent." Unfortunately, that message apparently fell on deaf ears all the way around.
The search process for the cargo overlord took less than three months and was handled by a professional recruiting firm. According to Commissioner Wayne Justice — in a December meeting with a local elected official — the firm brought the CPA 20 resumes which they winnowed down to 5 finalists. That cut was made to three and earlier this week, and commissioners interviewed them behind closed doors and outside of the public eye.
At Friday's meeting, starting at 2 p.m., Commissioners allowed public comment BEFORE their discussion and vote.
Only problem is, the public really had no idea about the three candidates. No bios were distributed. No information given. Not even a peep on their website. No public meetings introducing the three top candidates.
It seems that the more things change with the Canaveral Port Authority, the more they stay the same.